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Old-Age Pension Reform and Modernization Pathways: Lessons for China from Latin America

Calvo, Esteban and Williamson, John B. (2006): Old-Age Pension Reform and Modernization Pathways: Lessons for China from Latin America. Forthcoming in: Journal of Aging Studies , Vol. 1, No. 22 (2008)

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While numerous Western countries first experienced cultural rationalization, next economic modernization, and then faced the challenges of population aging and pension policy reform, both Latin America and China, in contrast, are dealing with these challenges in the context of much less developed economies and stronger traditional cultures. In this article we analyze old-age pension reform efforts in eight Latin American countries that have introduced funded defined contribution schemes with individual accounts. We are searching for insights about the potential success of similar reforms being implemented in China. All of these societies are organized primarily around the principles of family, reciprocity, loyalty and poverty. Our analysis suggests that these distinctive characteristics have important implications for the likely success of the reforms currently being implemented in China, particularly in four interrelated areas: coverage, compliance, transparency, and fiscal stability.

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