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Pensions at a glance: Asia/Pacific

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  • Whitehouse, Edward

Abstract

Many of Asia‟s retirement-income systems are ill prepared for the rapid population ageing that will occur over the next two decades. The demographic transition – to fewer babies and longer lives – took a century in Europe and North America. In Asia, this transition will often occur in a single generation. Asia‟s pension systems need modernising urgently to ensure that they are financially sustainable and provide adequate retirement incomes. In some countries – China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei – pension levels are high relative to earnings. Early retirement ages, especially for women, provide additional financial pressure. These systems are unlikely to be sustainable as populations age and retirement-income provision matures. Yet many Asia/Pacific countries also face a problem of adequacy of retirement incomes. There are four reasons why current pension systems are unlikely to deliver a secure income in old age. First. coverage of formal pension systems is relatively low. Secondly, withdrawal of savings before retirement is very common. Thirdly, pension savings are often taken as lump sums with the risk that people outlive their resources. Finally, pensions in payment are not automatically adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living. Ageing Asia must face these pension problems to deliver secure, sustainable and adequate retirement incomes for today‟s workers. Asia‟s ageing will be at its most rapid between 2010 and 2030. Given the long lag in pension-policy planning, there is now a narrow window for many Asian countries to avoid future pension problems and repeating many of the mistakes made in Europe and North America. But it will soon be too late.

Suggested Citation

  • Whitehouse, Edward, 2009. "Pensions at a glance: Asia/Pacific," MPRA Paper 36134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36134
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36134/1/MPRA_paper_36134.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edward Whitehouse, 2007. "Pensions Panorama : Retirement-Income Systems in 53 Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7177, June.
    2. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Piggot, John & Robalino, David & Jimenez-Martin, Sergi, 2008. "Incentive Effects of Retirement Income Transfers," MPRA Paper 12020, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pensions; retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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