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Providing Greater Old-Age Security in China

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Herd

    (OECD)

  • Hu-Wei Hu
  • Vincent Koen

    (OECD)

Abstract

China’s population is set to age fast, owing to low fertility and rising life expectancy. With ongoing migration of the younger cohorts to urban areas the increase in the old-age dependency ratio will be even more pronounced in rural than in urban areas. Very different pension arrangements exist across the country, with diverse and segmented systems in urban areas, belated retirement and low replacement ratios in rural areas, and special rules governing public sector pensions. Labour mobility is impeded by some of features of the current pension system, not least limited benefit portability. Various reforms have been initiated or proposed over the past decade. Some add to the existing fragmentation, while others, notably those providing for greater geographical pooling, have only partly been implemented. Also, under current rules, effective replacement rates are fairly low and projected to decline further, both for rural and urban residents, which may be difficult to sustain with the elderly living less and less with their descendants. Furthermore, as the countryside ages, much of the additional burden will be shouldered by local governments with insufficient resources. These challenges can be addressed by gradually consolidating the various regimes, raising retirement ages and shifting more of the cost of rural pensions to the central government. Even if different schemes for different categories of workers were to persist, each should be unified over time, first provincially and then nationally, phasing out the urban-rural distinction. Offrir davantage de sécurité aux personnes âgées en Chine La population de la Chine devrait vieillir rapidement, en raison d’une faible fécondité et de l’allongement de l’espérance de vie. Dans un contexte de migration des cohortes plus jeunes vers les agglomérations, la hausse du taux de dépendance économique des personnes âgées sera encore plus soutenue en milieu rural que dans les zones urbaines. Des mécanismes de retraite très variés co-existent: systèmes divers et segmentés en ville, retraite tardive et faibles taux de remplacement dans les campagnes, et règles spécifiques régissant les retraites du secteur public. La mobilité de la main d’oeuvre est freinée par certains aspects du système de retraite actuel, notamment une portabilité restreinte des prestations. Des réformes ont été initiées ou proposées au cours de la décennie écoulée. Certaines accentuent la fragmentation existante, alors que d’autres, en particulier celles visant à intensifier le regroupement géographique, n’ont été que partiellement mises en oeuvre. De plus, d’après les règles en vigueur, les taux de remplacement effectifs sont assez bas et devraient poursuivre leur repli, pour les ruraux comme pour les citadins, ce qui pourrait entraîner une situation difficilement tenable puisque les plus âgés vivent de moins en moins souvent avec leurs descendants. De surcroît, en raison du vieillissement de la population rurale, une grande partie du surcoût devra être supporté par des collectivités locales dotées de ressources insuffisantes. Il est possible de remédier à ces difficultés en fusionnant progressivement les différents régimes, en relevant l’âge de la retraite et en reportant une plus grande fraction du coût des retraites en milieu rural sur le gouvernement central. Même si différents régimes devaient subsister pour différentes catégories de travailleurs, il faudra les fusionner au fil du temps, tout d’abord à l’échelon provincial, puis sur le plan national, en supprimant peu à peu la distinction entre les villes et les campagnes.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Herd & Hu-Wei Hu & Vincent Koen, 2010. "Providing Greater Old-Age Security in China," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 750, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:750-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5kmlh4x7pc7k-en
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Guonan Ma & Wang Yi, 2010. "China’s High Saving Rate: Myth and Reality," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 122, pages 5-39.
    2. Bénassy-Quéré, Agnès & Carton, Benjamin & Gauvin, Ludovic, 2013. "China and global rebalancing: A two-country approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 118-139.
    3. Tianhong Chen & John A. Turner, 2014. "Social Security Individual Accounts in China: Toward Sustainability in Individual Account Financing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(8), pages 1-16, August.
    4. Chamon, Marcos & Liu, Kai & Prasad, Eswar, 2013. "Income uncertainty and household savings in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 164-177.
    5. Abubakar Mas’ud, Abdullahi & Wirba, Asan Vernyuy & Muhammad-Sukki, Firdaus & Albarracín, Ricardo & Abu-Bakar, Siti Hawa & Munir, Abu Bakar & Bani, Nurul Aini, 2016. "A review on the recent progress made on solar photovoltaic in selected countries of sub-Saharan Africa," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 441-452.
    6. Zhu, Xi & Whalley, John & Zhao, Xiliang, 2014. "Intergenerational transfer, human capital and long-term growth in China under the one child policy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 275-283.
    7. Heikki Oksanen, 2010. "The Chinese pension system - First results on assessing the reform options," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 412, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    8. Atella, Vincenzo & Brugiavini, Agar & Pace, Noemi, 2015. "The health care system reform in China: Effects on out-of-pocket expenses and saving," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 182-195.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ageing; benefit portability; China; Chine; demographic projections; labour mobility; mobilité de la main-d’oeuvre; pauvreté; pension system; poverty; projections démographiques; replacement ratios; retirement age; système de retraite; taux de remplacement; vieillissement; âge du départ en retraite;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P21 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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