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The gender impact of pension reform

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  • JAMES, ESTELLE
  • EDWARDS, ALEJANDRA COX
  • WONG, REBECA
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    Abstract

    Pension systems may have a different impact on the two genders because women are less likely than men to work in formal labor markets and earn lower wages when they do. Recent multi-pillar pension reforms tighten the link between payroll contributions and benefits, leading critics to argue that they will hurt women. In contrast, supporters of these reforms argue that women will be helped by the removal of distortions pillar and the better targeted redistributions in the new systems. This paper examines the differential impact of the new and old systems in three Latin American countries Chile, Argentina and Mexico. Based on household survey data, we simulate the wage and employment histories of representative men and women, the pensions that these are likely to generate under the new and old rules, and the relative gains or losses of the two genders due to the reform. We find that women do indeed accumulate private annuities that are only 30 40% those of men in the new systems. However, this effect is mitigated by sharp targeting of the new public pillars toward low earners, many of whom are women, and by restrictions on payouts from the private pillars, particularly joint annuity requirements. As a result, low-earning married women are the biggest gainers from the pension reform.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of Pension Economics and Finance.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 02 (July)
    Pages: 181-219

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:jpenef:v:2:y:2003:i:02:p:181-219_00

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    Cited by:
    1. Estelle James & Alejandra Cox Edwards, 2005. "Do Individual Accounts Postpone Retirement: Evidence from Chile," Working Papers wp098, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Solange Berstein & Andrea Tokman, 2005. "Brechas de ingreso entre géneros: ¿Perpetuadas o exacerbadas en la vejez?," Working Papers 8, Superintendencia de Pensiones, revised Jul 2005.
    3. Estelle James & Guillermo Martinez & Augusto Iglesias, 2004. "Payout Choices by Retirees in Chile: What Are They and Why?," Working Papers wp068, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. Eduardo Fajnzylber, 2010. "Gender Policy, the Minimum Pension Age and Non-contributory Rights for Women – the Case of Chile," Working Papers wp_003, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
    5. Solange Berstein & Andrea Tokman, 2005. "Income Gap by Gender: Perpetuated or Exacerbated when Old?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 334, Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Robert Holzmann & Richard Hinz, 2005. "Old Age Income Support in the 21st century: An International Perspective on Pension Systems and Reform," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7336, July.

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