Rapid population aging and economic transformation in Asia raise the policy challenge of ensuring income security in old age. The main objective of this paper is to explore the potential role of social pensions and other noncontributory schemes in Asia, informed by insights from theory and international experience. The paper identifies alternative forms of providing income security in old age, including social pensions. It also examines the welfare effects of adopting alternative social pension designs, especially around two key policy nodes: the comparative advantages of social assistance and social pensions, and the integration of noncontributory transfers within advanced contributory pension schemes.
For years those responsible for Social Security and policy analysts have acknowledged that the present statutory framework for determining and financing program benefits is unsustainable. Nonetheless, despite the work of Presidential commissions, countless Congressional hearings, proposals for reform advanced by individuals and groups across the political spectrum, changes to Social Security that would restore its fiscal balance into the foreseeable future have repeatedly been deferred or deflected by the nation’s law-makers.
This paper aims to assist analysis of and reflection on the range of options for ensuring Social Security’s future while not adding yet another solvency proposal to the already ample supply. It begins with several background observations. These are followed by a discussion of personal (or private) accounts to which former President George W. Bush gave salience and which continue to be included among the talking points of politicians hostile to Social Security’s fundamental structure. Next the paper reviews the more likely program changes that would (unlike personal accounts) directly address Social Security’s long-term "deficit." That section is followed by one sketching possible revisions in the program’s benefit structure designed to achieve ends other than reducing Social Security expenditures. The paper concludes with some observations on the role that framing has played in past debates over Social Security’s future. Finally, there is an appendix explaining the central terms and components of the current program. It is provided for readers who might otherwise be unclear about the meaning or implications of changing Social Security’s "Primary Insurance Amount" formula or its "Full Retirement Age."
"Averting the Funding-Gap Crisis: East European Pension Reforms after 2008"
Global Social Policy, Forthcoming
This paper analyses the post-2008 pension reforms in Central and East European Countries. The economic crisis revealed the unresolved problems in the implementation of previous reforms: the financing of the transformation costs. The reforms thus reacted to the legacies of past choices as well as to the exceptional circumstances of the crisis in their attempts to solve the funding-gap issue. An interplay of fiscal constraints and political conditions shaped the variety of reform outcomes.
This paper explores the background to the reforms to the Australian retirement savings system known as 'Stronger Super'.