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Pension systems in East Asia and the Pacific : challenges and opportunities


  • Holzmann, Robert
  • Mac Arthur, Ian W.
  • Sin, Yvonne


With the recovery from the recent crisis, countries of the East Asia and Pacific region are rethinking their financial, and social policy, including old-age protection. Population aging, in combination with ongoing urbanization, and economic transformation, will place increasing pressure on traditional family care arrangements. Coverage under formal pension systems is generally low, and the absence of social safety nets for the needy elderly, poses risks in the face of breaks in the economic growth path. In addition to common systemic challenges, formal old-age income support systems confront issues specific to their design type: 1) The national provident fund, and social security systems with reserve funds, have demonstrated problems with investment policy, and performance, governance and management. 2) In the established market economies, social security systems are fiscally unsustainable in the long run, and often have a weak benefit-contribution link. 3) These types of systems encounter additional problems in transition economies, including low contribution collection from previously socialized enterprises. Options addressed by the paper involve the adoption of an integrated view on retirement income provision, averting fiscal un-sustainability, and, integrating public, and private sector pensions. Additionally, moving toward a multi-pillar structure with prudent coverage extension, and, fostering financial markets, to allow decentralized pension funds management, are also suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Holzmann, Robert & Mac Arthur, Ian W. & Sin, Yvonne, 2000. "Pension systems in East Asia and the Pacific : challenges and opportunities," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 23088, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23088

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    Cited by:

    1. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2003. "Tax Incentives to Saving and Borrowing," CEPR Discussion Papers 3881, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Manasan, Rosario G., 2011. "A Review of Social Insurance in the Philippines," Philippine Journal of Development PJD 2009 Vol. XXXVI No. 2, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    3. Manasan, Rosario G., 2009. "Reforming Social Protection Policy: Responding to the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond," Discussion Papers DP 2009-22, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    4. Iris Claus & Les Oxley & Yong Cai & Yuan Cheng, 2014. "Pension Reform In China: Challenges And Opportunities," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 636-651, September.
    5. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2002. "Tax Incentives for Household Saving and Borrowing," CSEF Working Papers 83, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    6. Giang, Thanh Long & Pfau, Wade Donald, 2008. "Demographic Changes and Pension Finances in Vietnam," MPRA Paper 9931, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Park, Donghyun & Estrada, Gemma, 2012. "Developing Asia’s Pension Systems and Old-Age Income Support," ADBI Working Papers 358, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    8. Rosengard, Jay, 2004. "Will Bank Bailouts Bust Budgets? Fiscalization of the East Asian Financial Crisis," Working Paper Series rwp04-012, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    9. 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).
    10. Jorge A Chan-Lau, 2004. "Pension Funds and Emerging Markets," IMF Working Papers 04/181, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Manasan, Rosario G., 2009. "Social Insurance in the Philippines: Responding to the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond," Discussion Papers DP 2009-23, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    12. Giang, Thanh Long, 2005. "Pension Liabilities and Generational Relations: The Case of Vietnam," MPRA Paper 970, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2006.


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