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How poor are the old? a survey of evidence from 44 countries

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  • Whitehouse, Edward

Abstract

This paper surveys 11 international comparative studies of poverty, income distribution, and the elderly. Although it focuses on OECD economies, some 44 countries are covered. The paper addresses a series of questions. What level are the incomes of the elderly relative to the population as a whole? How has this changed over the past two decades? How many of the old are poor? How many of the poor are old? Are the oldest old poorer than younger pensioners? How do widows fare? What is the mix between public and private sources of income? Do the elderly poor remain poor? There is also a discussion of methodological issues. The results show that the incomes of the elderly are typically around 80 per cent of incomes of the populations as a whole. In most countries, this ratio has been increasing over the past two decades. Although there remain pockets of poverty among the elderly, most studies show that the old are represented proportionally or under-represented among the poor.

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  • Whitehouse, Edward, 2000. "How poor are the old? a survey of evidence from 44 countries," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 23141, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23141
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    Cited by:

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    2. Herwig Immervoll & Horacio Levy & Christine Lietz & Daniela Mantovani & Cathal O’Donoghue & Holly Sutherland & Gerlinde Verbist, 2006. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalizing Properties of Taxes and Benefits," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Dimitri B. Papadimitriou (ed.), The Distributional Effects of Government Spending and Taxation, chapter 5, pages 135-165, Palgrave Macmillan.
    3. Sarmistha Pal & Robert Palacios, 2011. "Understanding Poverty among the Elderly in India: Implications for Social Pension Policy," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(7), pages 1017-1037.
    4. Gasparini, Leonardo & Alejo, Javier & Haimovich, Francisco & Olivieri, Sergio & Tornarolli, Leopoldo, 2007. "Poverty among the Elderly in Latin America and the Caribbean," MPRA Paper 42957, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 2002. "The economic well-being of older people in international perspective: a critical review," MPRA Paper 10333, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Armando Barrientos, 2002. "Old age, poverty and social investment," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(8), pages 1133-1141.
    7. Olivera, Javier, 2002. "La tasa de reemplazo en el Sistema Privado de Pensiones [The replacement rate in the Peruvian private pension system]," MPRA Paper 66517, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Barrientos, Armando & Gorman, Mark & Heslop, Amanda, 2003. "Old Age Poverty in Developing Countries: Contributions and Dependence in Later Life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 555-570, March.
    9. Whitehouse, Edward, 2001. "Pension systems in 15 countries compared: the value of entitlements," MPRA Paper 14751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Cheryl Gray & Tracey Lane & Aristomene Varoudakis, 2007. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth : Lessons for Eastern Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 6883, November.
    11. Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Replacement incomes and taxes: a distributional analysis for the EU-15 countries," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/05, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    12. Palacios, Robert & Sluchynsky, Oleksiy, 2006. "Social pensions Part I : their role in the overall pension system," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 36237, The World Bank.
    13. Edward Whitehouse & Richard Disney, 2002. "The Economic Well-Being of Older People in International Perspective: A Critical Review," LIS Working papers 306, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    14. 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).
    15. World Bank, 2004. "Kazakhstan - The New Pensions in Kazakhstan : Challenges in Making the Transition," World Bank Publications - Reports 14362, The World Bank Group.
    16. Montserrat Pallares-Miralles & Carolina Romero & Edward Whitehouse, 2012. "A Worldwide Overview of Facts and Figures," World Bank Publications - Reports 11891, The World Bank Group.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Economics&Finance; Governance Indicators; Economic Theory&Research;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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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