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Individual accounts as social insurance : a World Bank perspective


  • Holzmann, Robert
  • Palacios, Robert


The trend toward including individual accounts as part of the mandatory pension system continues unabated. Nine Latin American countries have introduced individual accounts (Chile, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua) and several more are preparing to do so (Ecuador, Dominican Republic) . A similar trend has emerged in Europe where the former socialist countries are taking the lead: Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Poland have already passed reform legislation and many others including Croatia, Estonia, Macedonia, Romania and the Ukraine are preparing their own versions. There is also movement in this direction in Western Europe, even in countries with large, state defined benefit plans like Sweden. Several Asian versions of the individual accounts strategy are also emerging, ranging from the gradually liberalization of Singapore's Central Provident Fund to Hong Kong's new, employer based, defined contribution scheme. In fact, reforms that assign an important role to individual accounts are being discussed in dozens of countries in every region of the world. This brief note states the broad arguments for individual accounts. More detailed discussion of specific reforms and issues can be found at The structure of the paper is as follows: Section II provides some needed clarification on"individual accounts", Section III outlines the main arguments for individual accounts while Section IV concludes.

Suggested Citation

  • Holzmann, Robert & Palacios, Robert, 2001. "Individual accounts as social insurance : a World Bank perspective," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 23303, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:23303

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Winter, Joachim, 1999. "Pension reform, savings behavior and corporate governance," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-48, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    2. Salvador Valdes‐Prieto, 2000. "The Financial Stability of Notional Account Pensions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 395-417, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2004. "Kazakhstan - The New Pensions in Kazakhstan : Challenges in Making the Transition," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14362, The World Bank.
    2. Christina Benita Wilke, 2008. "On the feasibility of notional defined contribution systems: The German case," MEA discussion paper series 08165, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    3. Peeters, Marga, 2011. "“Better Safe than Sorry” - Individual Risk-free Pension Schemes in the European Union - Macroeconomic Benefits, the Mobile Working Citizen’s Perspective and Why Nots," MPRA Paper 33571, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Marga Peeters, 2012. "Better Safe than Sorry - Individual Risk-free Pension Schemes in the European Union," Contemporary Economics, University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw., vol. 6(3), September.


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