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Portability of Pension, Health, and other Social Benefits: Facts, Concepts, and Issues


  • Robert Holzmann
  • Johannes Koettl


Portability of social benefits across professions and countries is an increasing concern for individuals and policy makers. Lacking or incomplete transfers of acquired social rights are feared to negatively impact individual labor market decisions as well as capacity to address social risks with consequences for economic and social outcomes. The paper gives a fresh and provocative look on the international perspective of the topic that has so far been dominated by social policy lawyers working within the framework of bilateral agreements; the input by economists has been very limited. It offers an analytical framework for portability analysis that suggests separating the risk pooling, (implicit or actual) pre-funding, and redistributive elements in the benefit design, and explores the proposed alternative approach for pensions and health care benefits. This promising approach may serve both as a substitute and complement to bi- and multilateral agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Holzmann & Johannes Koettl, 2012. "Portability of Pension, Health, and other Social Benefits: Facts, Concepts, and Issues," CESifo Working Paper Series 4002, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murat G. Kirdar, 2012. "Estimating The Impact Of Immigrants On The Host Country Social Security System When Return Migration Is An Endogenous Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 453-486, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dustmann & Giovanni Facchini & Cora Signorotto, 2015. "Population, Migration, Ageing and Health: A Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1518, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Omar S. Arias & Carolina Sánchez-Páramo & María E. Dávalos & Indhira Santos & Erwin R. Tiongson & Carola Gruen & Natasha de Andrade Falcão & Gady Saiovici & Cesar A. Cancho, 2014. "Back to Work : Growing with Jobs in Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16570, March.
    3. Maurizio Bussolo & Johannes Koettl & Emily Sinnott, 2015. "Golden Aging," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22018, March.
    4. Rafal Chomik & John Piggott, 2015. "Population Ageing and Social Security in Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 10(2), pages 199-222, July.
    5. Holzmann, Robert, 2014. "Old-age financial protection in Malaysia : challenges and options," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 92725, The World Bank.
    6. Robalino, David & Margolis, David & Rother, Friederike & Newhouse, David & Lundberg, Mattias, 2013. "Youth employment : a human development agenda for the next decade," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 83925, The World Bank.
    7. Robert Holzmann, 2016. "Taxing Pensions of an Internationally Mobile Labor Force: Portability Issues and Taxation Options," CESifo Working Paper Series 5715, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Peter Huber & Doris A. Oberdabernig & Anna Raggl, 2015. "Migration in an ageing Europe: What are the challenges?," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 79, WWWforEurope.
    9. Fauziah ZEN & Mukul G. ASHER, 2015. "Social Protection in ASEAN: Challenges and Initiatives for Post-2015 Vision," Working Papers DP-2015-06, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

    More about this item


    acquired rights; labor mobility; migration; individual accounts; bi-lateral agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other


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