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How poor are the old? a survey of evidence from 44 countries

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  • Whitehouse, Edward

Abstract

This paper surveys 11 international comparative studies of poverty, income distribution, and the elderly. Although it focuses on OECD economies, some 44 countries are covered. The paper addresses a series of questions. What level are the incomes of the elderly relative to the population as a whole? How has this changed over the past two decades? How many of the old are poor? How many of the poor are old? Are the oldest old poorer than younger pensioners? How do widows fare? What is the mix between public and private sources of income? Do the elderly poor remain poor? There is also a discussion of methodological issues. The results show that the incomes of the elderly are typically around 80 per cent of incomes of the populations as a whole. In most countries, this ratio has been increasing over the past two decades. Although there remain pockets of poverty among the elderly, most studies show that the old are represented proportionally or under-represented among the poor.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 23141.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23141

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Keywords: Inequality; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Economics&Finance; Governance Indicators; Economic Theory&Research;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Gasparini & Javier Alejo & Francisco Haimovich & Sergio Olivieri & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2007. "Poverty among the Elderly in Latin America and the Caribbean," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0055, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  2. Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Replacement incomes and taxes: a distributional analysis for the EU-15 countries," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/05, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  3. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 1824, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 2002. "The economic well-being of older people in international perspective: a critical review," MPRA Paper 10398, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Palacios, Robert & Sluchynsky, Oleksiy, 2006. "Social pensions Part I : their role in the overall pension system," Social Protection Discussion Papers 36237, The World Bank.
  6. World Bank, 2004. "Kazakhstan - The New Pensions in Kazakhstan : Challenges in Making the Transition," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14362, The World Bank.
  7. Whitehouse, Edward, 2001. "Pension systems in 15 countries compared: the value of entitlements," MPRA Paper 14751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Barrientos, Armando & Gorman, Mark & Heslop, Amanda, 2003. "Old Age Poverty in Developing Countries: Contributions and Dependence in Later Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 555-570, March.
  9. Armando Barrientos, 2002. "Old age, poverty and social investment," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(8), pages 1133-1141.
  10. Montserrat Pallares-Miralles & Carolina Romero & Edward Whitehouse, 2012. "A Worldwide Overview of Facts and Figures," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11891, The World Bank.
  11. Barrientos, Armando, 2002. "Comparing Pension Schemes in Chile, Singapore, Brazil and South Africa," General Discussion Papers 30560, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).

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