Averting the Old Age Crisis
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Analyzes the issues affecting income security for the elderly in both developing and industrial nations.
Systems providing financial security for the old are under increasing strain throughout the world. Changing demographics have led to an increased proportion of old people in the general population. Traditional means of support for the old, such as extended families, are weakening. Meanwhile, formal systems, such as government-backed pensions, have proven unstable. For these reasons economists, policymakers, and government officials are exploring ways to address such issues as:
*How to ensure financial security for the old and the best ways of paying for such security
*The roles of the public and private sectors when systems are used to enhance rather than detract from economic growth.
This study, the first comprehensive and global examination of old age security, addresses such issues. It identifies three functions of old age financial security programs--redistribution, saving, and insurance. It evaluates the policy options for meeting these functions using two criteria: their impact on the aged and their impact on the economy as a whole. The study suggests that financial security for the old and economic growth would be better served if governments relied on three systems:
1) A publicly managed system with mandatory participation and the limited goal of reducing poverty among the old
2) A privately managed mandatory savings system
3) A voluntary savings system.
These three systems would ensure against the many risks of old age.
The study concludes that a combination of different income security policies is more effective than any single approach and that all countries should begin planning for their aging populations now.
A Copublication of the World Bank and Oxford University Press.
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