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Pensions in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for Change

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  • David Robalino

Abstract

This is the first comprehensive assessment of pension systems in the Middle East and North Africa. While other regions-Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, in particular-have been actively introducing reforms to their pension systems, Middle East and North African countries have lagged behind. This is explained, in part, by the common belief that, because demographics remain favorable-the countries are young and the labor force is expanding rapidly-financial problems are far in the future; as a result, pension reform does not have to be a priority in the broader policy agenda. However, the authors show that aging is not the only factor behind a financial crisis; the problem is the generosity of the current schemes. Moreover, badly designed benefit formulas and eligibility conditions introduce unnecessary economic distortions and make the systems vulnerable to adverse distributional transfers. The book does not present a general model that could solve the problems of all pension systems in MENA countries. Instead the authors focus on outlining a framework for guiding discussions on pension reform and making objective policy choices.

Suggested Citation

  • David Robalino, 2005. "Pensions in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7427, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:7427
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Robalino, David & Tatyana, Bogomolova, 2006. "lmplicit Pension Debt in the Middle-East and North Africa Magnitude and Fiscal lmplications," MPRA Paper 12019, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Robalino, David A. & Bodor, András, 2009. "On the financial sustainability of earnings-related pension schemes with ‘pay-as-you-go’ financing and the role of government-indexed bonds," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(02), pages 153-187, April.
    3. Marchiori, Luca, 2011. "Demographic trends and international capital flows in an integrated world," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 2100-2120, September.
    4. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2017. "Does front-loading taxation increase savings? Evidence from Roth 401(k) introductions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 84-95.
    5. 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, April.
    6. World Bank, 2006. "Fostering Higher Growth and Employment in the Kingdom of Morocco," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7114, April.
    7. Palacios, Robert & Sluchynsky, Oleksiy, 2006. "Social pensions Part I : their role in the overall pension system," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 36237, The World Bank.
    8. Alassane Diaw, 2017. "Retirement Preparedness in Saudi Arabia," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 7(1), pages 78-86.
    9. Dorfman, Mark & Hinz, Richard & Robalino, David, 2008. "The Financial Crisis and Mandatory Pension Systems in Developing Countries: Short- and Medium-term Responses," MPRA Paper 12254, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2008.
    10. Mehdi Ben Braham & Ilham Dkhissi & Anne Petron & Nacer Eddine Hammouda & Claire El Moudden & Jean-Marc Dupuis, 2011. "L’impact des systèmes de retraite sur le niveau de vie des personnes âgées au Maghreb," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 441(1), pages 205-224.
    11. Katarzyna Romaniuk, 2013. "Pension fund taxation and risk-taking: should we switch from the EET to the TEE regime?," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 573-588, November.
    12. palacios, Robert & Whitehouse, Edward, 2006. "Civil-service pension schemes around the world," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 90340, The World Bank.
    13. Farrukh Iqbal, 2006. "Sustaining Gains in Poverty Reduction and Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7048, April.
    14. Edward Whitehouse, 2007. "Pensions Panorama : Retirement-Income Systems in 53 Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7177, April.
    15. Samia BENALLAH & Carole BONNET & Claire El MOUDDEN & Antoine MATH, 2012. "Comment Mesurer La "Générosité" Des Systèmes De Retraite ? Une Application Aux Pays De La Méditerranée," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 35, pages 215-234.
    16. József Kárpáti, 2011. "The pension systems of Arab countries in the light of socio-economic risks," Public Finance Quarterly, State Audit Office of Hungary, vol. 56(2), pages 179-192.
    17. Robert Holzmann, 2016. "Taxing Pensions of an Internationally Mobile Labor Force: Portability Issues and Taxation Options," CESifo Working Paper Series 5715, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Bernd Genser & Robert Holzmann, 2016. "The Taxation of Internationally Portable Pensions: Fiscal Issues and Policy Options," CESifo Working Paper Series 5702, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. Ajantha Kumara & Wade Pfau, 2013. "Would emerging market pension funds benefit from international diversification: investigating wealth accumulations for pension participants," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 319-335, August.
    20. Hamadi Matoussi & Faten Zoghlami, 2007. "Momentum in Emerging Markets: Investigation of Overconfidence and Cognitive BIAS Factors," Working Papers 717, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Jan 2007.
    21. Vittas, Dimitri & Impavido, Gregorio & O'Connor, Ronan, 2008. "Upgrading the investment policy framework of public pension funds," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4499, The World Bank.
    22. Filgueira, Fernando & Manzi, Pilar, 2017. "Pension and income transfers for old age: Inter- and intra-generational distribution in comparative perspective," Políticas Sociales 225, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    23. Garcia-Kilroy, Catiana & Silva, Anderson Caputo, 2011. "Reforming government debt markets in MENA," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5611, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pensions and Retirement Systems Social Protections and Labor - Social Funds and Pensions Social Protections and Labor - Labor Policies;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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