Subscribe: Ageing populations
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
age  ageing  countries  economic  growth  health  older people  older persons  older  pension  people  population  social  women 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Ageing populations

Ageing populations

One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

Copyright: Copyright ©2013 Eldis, Sussex

Realising income security in old age: A study into the feasibility of a universal old age pension in Malawi

04 Oct 2016 12:15:51 GMT

Many governments in developing countries are setting up non-contributory programs to assist older people, most of whom are not covered by formal pension schemes. Malawi is no stranger to the international advancement of social security and social protection. That said, further analysis on the implementation and the role of social pensions in tackling old-age poverty was needed to inform government policy and practice.

The aim of the study was to address the knowledge gap of social pension reforms in Malawi. The study examined what has been learned from the programs operating in different African countries, and highlights the key policy and budgetary issues that arise. The study has concluded that social pensions represent an important component of an institutional foundation for old-age social protection.

There are affordable options for Malawi to begin expanding a universal pension in the coming years. Various scenarios exist for universal pensions costing a fraction of GDP, which could be financed through wider efforts to increase revenue for social protection spending. Malawi could then seek to
increase the coverage and adequacy of a universal pension as more revenue can be secured, and as the economy grows.

The path chosen will depend on the political will of the government, but a potential option would be:


  • make a start but introducing a relatively low cost scheme, such as benefit of MWK 3,720 to over 70s (a cost of 0.4 per cent of GDP). This would be in line with current levels of fiscal space, and would also allow for administrative systems to be developed gradually before rolling out to national level
  • as soon as possible, expand the scheme to all older people aged 60 years and over. This would recognise the relatively short life expectancy in Malawi, and that many of the challenges of old age can kick in relatively early
  • in the longer run, move towards a benefit level at the level of the national poverty line (approximately MWK 8,750 in 2016 prices), to ensure that no older person lives in poverty. This higher level of adequacy can be achieved both through growth of the economy, and also by devoting increased revenue to the scheme

Gone with the wind: demographic transitions and domestic saving

30 Sep 2016 09:26:57 GMT

Demographic factors are important determinants of a country’s saving behaviour. In Asia, for example, a favourable demographic transition over the last half century has supported high saving and investment rates.This study explores the relationship between demographic factors and saving rates using a panel dataset covering 110 countries between 1963 and 2012. In line with predictions from theory, this paper finds that lower dependency rates and greater longevity increase domestic saving rates. However, these effects are statistically robust only in Asia. In particular, Latin America, which is a region that has undergone a remarkably similar demographic transition, did not experience the same boost in saving rates as Asia. The paper highlights that the potential dividends arising from a favorable demographic transition are not automatically accrued. This is a sobering message at a time when the demographic tide is shifting in the world.

The Funded Pension Scheme and economic growth in Nigeria

27 Sep 2016 04:57:12 GMT

In Nigeria however, life after retirement is dreaded by most workers. The fears of facing the future after retirement create an ambiance of disturbance among employees. Retirement is seen by workers as a transition that could lead to psychological, physiological and economic problems.

This study provided evidence on the effect of the operation of the funded pension scheme since its inception in 2004 on economic growth in Nigeria using error correction mechanism (ECM) and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) methodologies.

Findings revealed that the pension fund contributions from both private and public sectors in Nigeria increased greatly and constituted a huge investment fund in the capital and money markets. This increased liquidity in the economy and created employment opportunities as well as improvement in the investment climate.

The study concluded that with good risk and portfolio management by pension fund administrators and custodians, the contributory pension has the capacity to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria and very convenient to retirees compared to the previous defined benefit scheme.

The study however recommended the removal of delay payment, administrative bottlenecks and corruption in the management of the pension fund in order to boost economic growth in Nigeria.

Subjective well- being of Chinese elderly: a comparative analysis among Urban China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

23 Sep 2016 11:12:25 GMT

This paper investigates the relative importance of living arrangement and social participation for the elderly’s subjective well-being (happiness) in three Chinese societies (Hong Kong, urban China and Taiwan) with different levels of development. Based on comparable survey data, the authors find that co-residence with children is less closely associated with the elderly’s psychological well-being in the more developed society. The elderly in Hong Kong who live independently with a spouse are in a significantly better emotional state than those living with adult children and grandchildren. Social participation has a greater positive effect on subjective well-being among the aged in Hong Kong than among those in urban China and Taiwan.

Furthermore, elderly women may benefit more from independent living and social engagement than their male counterparts. These findings suggest that encourageing social participation among the elderly may be an effective way to enhance their well-being and achieve active ageing.

The year that shook the rich: a review of natural disasters in 2011

22 Sep 2016 10:56:57 GMT

From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to fourteen disasters causing over a billion dollars each in damage in the United States, 2011 was particularly damaging for developed countries. Reviewing 2011’s natural disasters, this report analyses the range of disasters and lessons to be learned from those that occurred in developed countries.

Key lessons:

  • 2011 was the most expensive year in terms of disaster losses in history, mostly because of a spate of disasters affecting developed countries. Globally, the economic cost of disasters in 2011 was $380 billion, of which $210 billion were the result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This was 72 percent higher than the losses in 2005, the second costliest year in history of disaster-related losses
  • developed countries were particularly hard-hit by disasters in 2011 as evidenced by floods in Australia, earthquakes in New Zealand, an earthquake/tsunami in Japan and a series of disasters in the United States. While natural disasters result in higher economic losses in rich countries, fewer people tend to be affected and loss of life is less than in developing countries
  • the post-tsunami Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan poses serious questions about preparedness for technological and industrial accidents caused by natural hazards as well as questions about the safety of nuclear technology
  • several positive trends in international humanitarian response were evident in the course of 2011, including promising developments in international disaster law, greater emphasis on disaster risk reduction and preparedness, and better communications during crises, including the use of social media in disaster response
  • the first famine in twenty years was declared in Somalia in mid-2011, demonstrating the deadly interaction of conflict, political instability and drought that can result in a catastrophe with high human casualties
  • the interconnections between disasters (especially mega-disasters), media coverage and humanitarian funding means that humanitarian funding tends to be directed toward disasters that have higher media coverage rather than to those with disaster-affected populations in greater need of assistance
  • global population is ageing at an unprecedented scale and yet the special needs of older people in emergencies are often neglected. In disasters such as the earthquake/tsunami in Japan and Hurricane Katrina, older people made up a disproportionate percentage of casualties. Given the fact that developing countries are also experiencing an increase in the percentage of elderly people, it is likely that a lack of focus on older persons in all phases, from planning to emergency management to post-disaster reconstruction, can result in higher fatalities among older people, long-term chronic health issues, psychosocial trauma and isolation. Treating older people simply as “normal” disaster victims denies
    the specific vulnerabilities that many older people face
  • more work is needed to recognize the positive contributions which older people can make in reducing the risks from disasters, in disaster response and in recovery and reconstruction

Ageing and non-communicable diseases: opportunities for the EU to respond

20 Sep 2016 02:45:54 GMT

The rise in NCDs combined with rapid population ageing presents important challenges for health and care systems globally. Deaths from NCDs are disproportionately concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. As a key player in global health and development, the EU has an important role to play in strengthening the response to NCDs in these countries.

This briefing by HelpAge’s EU network of organisations working with older people discusses NCDs and ageing in the context of sustainable development. It looks at how well the EU’s development policies are currently addressing the interaction between these issues. It sets out concrete opportunities for the EU to develop
age-inclusive development and global health policies that will enable the achievement of the SDGs, particularly Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, and its target on NCDs.

Key messages:

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally. Almost 75 per cent of these deaths occur in low - and middle income countries. Older people are disproportionately affected
  • global and European Union (EU) responses to NCDs in low- and middle income countries have been inadequate to date, failing to meet the needs of their ageing populations
  • investment in NCD prevention, treatment, management and care for people of all ages is critical to realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the commitment to leaving no one behind
  • to enable the EU to play the central role it has identified for itself in advancing progress on global health challenges, including NCDs3, it must pay greater attention to population ageing and NCDs and ensure a fully age-inclusive approach in its global health work, including its implementation of the SDGs


Means testing vs. universal targeting: assumptions of efficiency and affordability

20 Sep 2016 02:37:21 GMT

Whether social protection benefits should be assigned to all (universal) or kept only for those who meet certain criteria (targeting) remains one of the most contentious questions in social policy research. The purpose of this brief is to revisit two social policy assumptions around basic concerns of efficiency, affordability and sustainability of universal social pensions. Contrary to what many international organisations and scholars have argued, this brief forwards that universal social pensions are economically viable and efficient strategies to produce welfare and alleviate older-age income deprivations. The world clearly has the resources to implement basic social pensions on a global scale; the question is if there is also the political will to do it.

Key messages:

  • seventy-nine countries would be economically able to shift from targeted non-contributory pensions to basic universal non-contributory pensions with less than 1.2 per cent of the respective national GDPs
  • sixteen countries have means-tested/regional-tested non-contributory pensions more expensive than a hypothetical basic universal pension
  • an arbitrary threshold of “economic development” is not a limitation for implementing social pensions. At least 16 countries with a relatively low economic development have successfully implemented social pensions without targeting beneficiaries by means
  • universal social pensions are politically and economically viable and are efficient strategies to alleviate income poverty

“If you have only dust in your hands, then friends are far; when they are full, they come closer”: an examination of the impacts of Zambia’s Katete universal pension

21 Jul 2016 12:10:27 GMT

For the past 10 years or so, Zambia has been experimenting with a universal old age pension in the district of Katete, in the east of the country. It has provided a regular pension to 4,500 older people aged over 60 years, 63% of whom were women. The recipients of the pension belong to the Chewa tribe. In 2010, the author undertook a study of the pension and, at the time, it provided people with a regular transfer of 120,0001 Kwacha (around US$23.50) per month. The pension was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare.

The Katete pension has had a transformative impact on the lives of older people, as well as on their wider communities. It has also helped address discrepancies between the ideal and reality with regard to how older people view themselves and how they are viewed by society. It enables older people to delay the inevitable decline into dependency on others and enables them to retain their humanity – as expressed in Chewa ideals – for as long as they can. By maintaining active mutual sharing and caring relations, they keep kinship and love alive. The pension has particularly positive benefits for those that have been marginalised in old age to re-incorporate themselves within intimate communities, which offer them care, respect and support, which they, because of their possession of cash, can reciprocate.Moving towards a much simpler universal pension, as in Katete, would make a lot of sense. The vast majority of older people in Zambia live in poverty and attempting to exclude the richest appears to add little – if any – value, in particular when they cannot be accurately identified. Furthermore, it would be preferable to provide the benefit as an individual entitlement so that households with more than one older person can receive multiple benefits. If not, households may be encouraged to split while particularly vulnerable households – with more than one older person (or person with a severe disability) – could receive a higher income, which they surely need.

Demographic changes and fiscal policy in MENA countries

21 Jul 2016 02:50:43 GMT

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region countries have unique demographic characteristics. Within the MENA region, Arab countries have higher fertility and population growth rates and a significantly younger age structure than other ountries and regions. This can be a “demographic gift or a demographic curse” depending on whether the high population growth and fertility can be transformed into economic growth.

In this study, the author examines the links between demographic change and fiscal policy in MENA countries, focusing specifically on the economic impacts coming from the conflict between social security and education, which are two of the most government programs in any country. The paper is unique as it incorporates a political economy model of education given expected increases in social security spending in the background. Labor movements and growth results are expected to depend significantly on the return to education. A sensitivity analysis on the parameter that shows the return to education spending reveals that MENA countries would suffer significantly from a lower return to education. 

This scenario highlights the importance of returns to education for the growth results in the MENA region. It is also important to note that the MENA region could potentially experience significant positive economic growth if it can maintain a high return to education and also attract more capital, despite a rising fiscal burden coming from the social security system. 

Community-based social protection in the dry zone

14 Jul 2016 01:57:44 GMT

HelpAge International (Myanmar Country Office), with funding from LIFT donor consortium, has embarked on a three-year project to expand social protection to vulnerable households in Myanmar’s central dry zone. The project seeks to strengthen community and government capacity to protect vulnerable groups such as disabled and older people, and will deliver cash benefits to vulnerable households. As part of the project, HelpAge also seeks to enhance informal and community‐based systems and practices that are already working to provide support and assistance in the dry zone. To inform project activities and  discussions of social protection generally, this research was undertaken to investigate community‐based mechanisms, structures, and practices in dry zone villages that might be providing forms of social protection for vulnerable people living in these communities.


  • there is real need in dry zone communities that is not being met through current informal and community‐based practices. Cash transfers will reduce vulnerability and, if administered sensitively, should strengthen existing informal systems
  • principles of social hierarchy will structure villagers’ interpretations of cash benefits: these are likely to be treated as a form of patronage, perhaps entailing return obligations
  • to select beneficiaries, it would be most straightforward to rely on categories that villagers have already identified as people deserving of assistance: the elderly and those with disabilities. Poverty targeting is not recommended, at least not until villagers become more familiar with the principles of social protection
  • high‐status individuals should be advisors for the program. Perhaps the village administrator and/or the sayadaw (senior monk) could make case‐by‐case decisions about extending grants to those in situations of extreme vulnerability or destitution, assuming the role of patron. They already play that role to some extent
  • expanding the amounts and extending the repayment periods for no‐interest loans would be helpful for vulnerable people who are afraid to take loans because they cannot repay. I do not recommend setting up more revolving loan funds, as these seem to encourage indebtedness



Old-Age pension and extended families: how is adult children's internal migration affected?

12 Jul 2016 01:24:35 GMT

Old-age pension programs targeting the elderly may eventually benefit their extended families. However, no consensus has been reached on the growing body of literature that examines the potential impact of old-age pension on migration decisions of extended families.

This paper makes use of the most recent social pension reform in rural China to examine whether receipt of the pension payment equips adult children of pensioners to migrate. Employing a regression discontinuity (hereafter RD) design to a primary longitudinal survey, this paper overcomes challenges in the literature that households eligible for pension payment might be systematically different from ineligible households and that it is difficult to separate the effect of pension from that of age or cohort heterogeneity.

Around the pension eligibility age cut-off, results reveal large and significant increase among adult sons (but not daughters) to migrate out of their home county. Meanwhile, adult children are more likely to migrate out if their parents are healthy. Fuzzy RD estimations survive a standard set of key placebo tests and robustness checks.

Ageing in the Caribbean and the human rights of older persons: Twin imperatives for action

12 Jul 2016 01:15:54 GMT

Over the next twenty years, the Caribbean will see a rapid and dramatic ageing of its population. Over this period, the number of older persons will double: the number of persons aged 60 and over will increase from 1.1 million (or 13 per cent of the population) in 2015 to 2 million (or 22 per cent) in 2035.

The number of people aged 70 and over will increase from 500,000 (or 6 per cent) to 1 million (or 11 per
cent). The population will continue to age after 2035 albeit at a slowly diminishing rate. Over the next twenty years and beyond, all Caribbean countries and territories will see rapid ageing and significant increases in the proportion of older persons in their respective populations.
This study addresses the ageing of the Caribbean population and the situation with respect to the human
rights of older persons. It considers the implications for public policy of these ‘twin imperatives for action’. The first chapter describes and explains the changing age structure of the Caribbean population. Important features of the ageing dynamic, such as differential regional and national trends and the growing number of ‘older old’ persons, are also analysed.

The study then describes the progress that has been made in advancing and clarifying the human rights of older persons in international law. The core of the study then consists of an assessment of the current situation of older persons in the Caribbean and the extent to which their human rights are realised in practice. The thematic areas of economic security, health, and enabling environments – which roughly correspond to the three priority areas of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing – are each addressed in individual chapters. These chapters evaluate national policies and  programmes for older persons and make public policy recommendations
intended to protect and fulfil the human rights of older persons. The report concludes by summarising
the priorities for future action both through the establishment of new international human rights
instruments as well as national policies and programmes.

Labor market effects of pension reform: an overlapping generations general equilibrium model applied to Tunisia

08 Jul 2016 12:16:47 GMT

The problem of the sustainability of pay-as-you-go systems is becoming a serious concern for developing countries characterised by rapid demographic transitions and this problem will grow exponentially if nothing is done in the near future. Tunisia is a good example since its pension system has been in deficit since 2000 for the public sector fund and 2002 for the private one. According to the Tunisian National Statistical Institute (2009), the share of retirees in the population will increase from 10% in 2010 to 20% in 2034 due to the rapid ageing of the population. The increase in the dependency rate puts a heavy pressure on the financial viability of the social security system. This issue is becoming highly sensitive in the Tunisian public debate.
This paper develops an overlapping general equilibrium framework to capture the interactions among pension reform, labour market and inter-generational distribution issues in Tunisia. The impact on the labour market is addressed at the aggregate level but also by distinguishing different age categories. The three reform scenarios implemented to reduce the social security deficit consist in increasing social security contributions, reducing the replacement rate and postponing the retirement age.
The main result obtained is that increasing contribution rates is the worst solution in terms of welfare and unemployment, particularly for the youth. The best option is postponing the retirement age. Contrary to the traditional wisdom, it does not entail an increase of youth unemployment. For the two scenarios where aggregate welfare increases, the middle -aged are those that benefit the most from the reforms.

Social security reform and economic modeling capacity building in Indonesia

21 Jun 2016 02:13:22 GMT

Since 1999, economic growth and the rise of the services sector in urban areas have contributed to reducing poverty in Indonesia. While official poverty is relatively low at 12% (30 million persons), an additional 27% of the population (65 million persons) live just above the poverty line and small shocks can drive them back into poverty. These poor and vulnerable people face high food price risks (especially for rice); are highly exposed to health shocks; and are either unemployed or employed in low-skilled, low- productivity sectors. However, many individuals, mostly in the vulnerable category, have inadequate or no access to social protection services.

Key points:

  • the right to social security for all is enshrined in the Constitution since 2002. However, the social security system has had limited coverage, especially of the poor and the informal sector.
  • in 2004, Law No. 40 on National Social Security System (SJSN Law) mandated the extension of social security coverage to the entire population. In 2011, Law No. 24 regarding Social Security Administrators (BPJS Law) stipulated two administrative bodies to implement social security programs. BPJS Health became effective in 2014, and BPJS Employment in July 2015.
  • over the last decade, ADB has facilitated social security reform through support for developing laws and regulations, design of the health and pension, old-age savings, and death benefit programs, and analysis for improving fiscal sustainability of the reform
  • social security reform is a long-term and ongoing process. The government has made significant progress, but there are several challenges to be addressed—e.g., increasing informal sector participation; improved fiscal and financial management; and integrated M&E systems


The impact of fiscal subsidy on China's new rural pension system: a natural experiment

21 Jun 2016 02:02:54 GMT

The China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) has rapidly expanded since its first implementation in 2009,
and has covered all counties of China since 2012.
This paper studied the impact of fiscal subsidies on the participation rate and contributions of the rural residents in the China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) program, where the fiscal subsidies include the incentive pension and the matching subsidy. The results showed that incentive Pension can significantly improve the rural residents' participation rates, but participation rate of young residents are less than the older residents. The authors also showed that matching subsidy does not affect the rural residents' participation significantly. Results suggestthat the current fiscal subsidies play an important role in the establishment and expansion of the NRPS program, but have not increased the participation rate of younger people, which was one of the initial goals of NRPS.

Sharing and Learning on the Inclusion of Ageing and Disability in the Syrian Crisis

15 Jun 2016 04:02:28 GMT

An estimated 22 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon have impairments. Older persons constitute five percent of the Syrian community in host countries. In May 2014, UNHCR, Handicap International, HelpAge International and the Women’s Refugee Commission convened and facilitated a one-day meeting in Amman, Jordan to:

  • Share examples of disability and aging inclusion from different countries involved in the Syrian crisis response;
  • Discuss ongoing barriers and challenges; and
  • Explore strategies to optimise capacity development, sharing and learning across the sector as the crisis continues to evolve.

This three page document summarises the findings from this meeting with stakeholders, as well as the recommendations for future capacity development.

The document is also available in Arabic

Demographic change and fiscal sustainability in Asia

14 Jun 2016 10:59:03 GMT

Changes in the population age structure can have a significant effect on fiscal sustainability since they can affect both government revenues and expenditures. For example, population ageing will increase expenditures on the elderly while reducing potential growth and hence revenues.

In this paper, the authors project government revenue, expenditure, and fiscal balance in developing Asia up to 2050. Using a simple stylized model and the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) data set, they simulate the effect of both demographic changes and economic growth. Rapidly ageing countries like Korea, Japan, and Taipei, China, are likely to suffer a tangible deterioration of fiscal sustainability under their current tax and expenditure system.

On the other hand, rapid economic growth can improve fiscal health in poorer countries with relatively young populations and still-growing working-age populations. Overall, our simulation results indicate that Asia'€™s population ageing will adversely affect its fiscal sustainability, pointing to a need for Asian countries to further examine the impact of demographic shifts on their fiscal health.

The high cost of low vision: the evidence on ageing and the loss of sight

10 Jun 2016 02:27:02 GMT

Vision loss − 80 percent of which is preventable − is currently the leading cause of age-related disability.Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired, including 39 million who are totally blind. In developing countries, 94 million older people suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment − twice as many as those who suffer from significant hearing impairment.

Great strides have been made in preventing communicable eye diseases, but now action is needed to combat the dramatic growth in non-communicable age-related eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As the global population ages, vision loss will have a devastating impact on not only individuals but families, communities, and nations unless serious, proactive measures are taken.
The demographic changes of the 21st century provide humanity with tremendous opportunities if healthy ageing leads to active, productive ageing. Vision loss, however, is a significant barrier to a positive aging outcome.
Priority actions include:
  • integrating visual screening and other preventive eye-health interventions into public health practices for adults of all ages
  • creating education and awareness programs that include vision-loss prevention, detection, and treatment regimens
  • reimbursing both treatments and preventive eye health interventions to ensure positive impact on system-wide costs and support for future innovation
  • developing and utilizing tele-health mechanisms to provide greater access to screening and treatment regardless of geographical locationa
  • advocating for vision loss to become widely recognised as a preventable health condition; and
  • conducting more research on the outcomes and efficacy of preventive eye health

What causes inequity in access to publicly funded health services that are supposedly free at the point of use? A case of user fee exemptions for older people in Senegal

09 Jun 2016 10:37:46 GMT

Plan Sésame (PS) was launched in 2006 to provide free access to health services to Senegalese citizens aged 60 and over. As in many countries, this user fee exemption is marred by inequitable implementation. This study seeks to identify underlying causal mechanisms to explain how and why some people were
relatively less likely to have access to publicly funded health care. Explanations identified in focus group and interview data are organised into four themes:

  • PS as a poorly implemented and accessed “right” to health care;
  • PS as a “privilege” reserved for elites
  • PS as a “favour” or moral obligation to friends or family members of health workers; and
  • PS as a “curse” caused by adverse incorporation

 These results are analysed through critical realist and social constructivist epistemological lenses, in order to reflect on different interpretations of causality. Within the critical realist interpretation, the results point to a process of social exclusion. However, this interpretation, with its emphasis on objective reality, is contradicted by some local, subjective experiences of inequality and corruption. An alternative social constructionist interpretation of the results is therefore explored; it is argued this may be needed to prevent relatively powerful actors’ versions of the truth from prevailing.

No country for old men: an investment motive for downward inter-generational transfers in rural China

09 Jun 2016 10:20:51 GMT

Tens of millions of older Chinese have been struggling with poverty and loneliness as their children  flee villages to cities.  Sharp demographic changes such as rapid aging and increasing dependency ratio due to the one-child policy,  as well as the recent trend of rural-to-urban migration as a result of urbanisation
have frayed the ties that once bound the nation's families together.  The left-behind elders have to live off their labour and remittances from their migrant children.

In fighting for the exacerbated old-age poverty in the rural areas, China launched the New Rural Pension Program (NRPP) in 2009, covered more than 300 million Chinese by the end of 2012. Unlike the pension programs in the developed areas, the NRPP could be considered as a conditional cash transfer program, where the conditions are minimal:  being registered as rural residents, and age 60 or above.

This article focuses on answering the following questions: 

  • does the public cash transfer program (NRPP) crowd out the private transfers that the rural elders have been receiving?
  • how does the NRPP affect the spending patterns of the rural elders in transfers sent to others, consumption, investment in productive assets and  nancial assets?  What could be the motivation behind the behavioral responses to such a cash transfer program?

Using a regression discontinuity design with the program policy and a rich rural survey dataset, this research  nds that the NRPP decreases both the probability and the amount of private transfers received by the rural elders, which indicates a strong crowding-out effect. Also, the NRPP has no signi cant impact on the rural elders' consumption, investment in assets, loans and debts.  However, the NRPP significantly increases the amount of transfers sent to children from the elders, and at the same time, the amount of transfers sent to the elders' siblings decreased.  The results of household and individual  fixed-effect analyses reveal that the elders tend to transfer more to the more educated children, and also to those who migrated to a more distant region with a higher administrative level.  These findings could be reconciled with an investment motive of the Chinese rural elders, who are treating their migrant children as "productive assets" that have higher returns than the productive capitals in the rural areas where the financial inclusion level is low.

Large-scale social transfer and labor market outcomes: the case of the South African pension program

09 Jun 2016 10:03:12 GMT

Social transfer programs in low- and middle-income countries have been increasing. According to World Bank (2015), there are about 20 social safety net programs in an average developing country, and among various types of safety net programs, cash transfers are particularly becoming more prevalent. In Africa, for example, 40 countries, out of 48, offered unconditional cash transfers in 2014. While transfer programs have been proved to have positive e ects and to contribute to poverty reductions, it has often been said that these transfers may discourage work.

This paper evaluates the effects of the South African old age pension program, the largest cash transfer program in the country, on labour supply and employment of the elderly and prime-aged individuals. During 2008-2010 a policy change decreased the eligible ages for men from 65 to 60. Exploiting this change as a natural experiment,
the paper finds that the pension significantly discourages the elderly to work. The intention-treat-effects estimated based on three different, independent datasets imply that the labour force participation rate of men aged 60{64 significantly decreased by 5.81% points, 9.63% points, and 9.72% points, depending on the datasets used. Corre-
spondingly, the probability to be employed decreased by 4.15{9.89% points. Besides, the local average treatment e ects estimated suggest that once elderly people started receiving the benefit, the the probability to participate in the labour force and to be employed decreased by 29.2% points and 30.76% points, respectively, although these
estimates are not statistically signifcant. In contrast, the paper fails to provide clear evidence of the effects on prime-aged individuals.

Strengthening public pension systems in Asia: Proceedings of the 2015 ADB—PPI conference on public pension systems

03 Jun 2016 02:24:18 GMT

While Asia remains a key driver of global economic growth, the outlook for the region anticipates slow marginal growth for 2015 before rebounding in 2016 and remaining stronger for the next 2 years. India’s growth and the increased demand from the United States of America (US) will offset slower growth in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Looking at longer-term trends, rapidly ageing Asian populations and socio-cultural changes in the informal, family-based, old-age support mechanisms have created a rising demand for income and support services for the elderly and the poor. Therefore, governments and their populations are rightfully concerned about the long-term sustainability of their social security and fiscal health.
Public pension systems must find ways to cope with these pressures while many already struggle with structural challenges such as early retirement ages, diverging replacement rates under different systems, liberal withdrawal policies, and limited coverage. These factors are further exacerbated by restrictive investment mandates, which significantly curtail the ability of many developing pension systems to seek higher returns through a more diversified investment portfolio.
These conference proceeding include the following papers:
  • Southeast Asia’s Demographic Challenges: Changes and Liabilities
  • Lessons and Best Practices from Europe, Implications for Asia
  • Pension System Design: A Broad Approach to Best Practice
  • Public Pension Systems in Emerging Asia: Challenges to Fairness and Sustainability, and Reform Efforts
  • Spotlight: Learning from Korea’s National Pension System Reform

Establishing comprehensive national old age pension systems

03 Jun 2016 02:07:49 GMT

The world is ageing rapidly. Older people currently comprise 12.2% of the world’s population, with 67% living in developing countries.1 By 2050, the proportion globally will reach 21.2%, with 80% in developing countries. As the world ages, ensuringincome security in old age becomes an  increasingly important policy issue.

However, only 48% of the world’s older people have access to a pension and, unless major reforms are undertaken across developing countries, this proportion is likely to fall. The absence of pensions causes significant challenges for older people and society. Despite growing frailty, many older people are obliged to continue working in old age, often in insecure and low paid employment. As they become less able to work, their families are expected to care for them. Yet, many families taking on this responsibility have to reduce their investments in their own children and income generating activities, while many carers of older people have to withdraw from the labour force.

This paper discusses the policy options available to developing countries committed to offering universal pension coverage and maximising the incomes of older people. It presents a basic model of a pension system comprising up to three tiers that can be adapted to the circumstances of all countries. The model is based on evidence from both developed and developing countries.

Live long and prosper: aging in East Asia and Pacific

03 Jun 2016 01:47:13 GMT

As a region, East Asia and Pacific is ageing rapidly. The region is home to over a third of the global population ages 65 and older—mostly in China—and to more old people than any other region. More significantly, the region is ageing more rapidly than any region in history—a trend driven both by sharp declines in fertility and by steady increases in life expectancy—and in many countries, aging is occurring at relatively low-income level.
This report finds that East Asia and Pacific is well positioned to manage the risks from ageing. First, people in the region already have long working lives. Second, entitlements to pensions, health care, and long-term care for most of the population are still modest, and there is scope to act now to put in place systems that can be sustainable in the future. Third, household savings in the region are already high, and people tend to save until later in life, suggesting that they may be better prepared for old age. Finally, people in East Asia and Pacific have in recent decades seen a steady increase in the number of years
lived in good health.
The key message of the report is that it will be possible to manage rapid ageing in East Asia and Pacific while sustaining economic dynamism. This effort will require politically difficult policy choices, including dealing with associated fiscal risks. Several complementary policy reforms are required to manage these risks.
Pension systems will need reform. Formal sector pension schemes will need to be more fiscally sustainable, which will require reforms such as gradual increases in the retirement age.
In the health sector, the impacts of ageing will likely be significant, particularly given the increased incidence of noncommunicable diseases. This trend underscores the urgency to shift from a hospital-centric model to one in which primary care plays a bigger role and in which the treatment of older patients with chronic conditions is managed afford-ably at the right levels of the system.

Social Protection for the elderly as a development strategy: a case study of Kenya's old persons cash transfer programme

27 May 2016 12:47:44 GMT

Kenya has made progressive investments in social protection forthe ageing, providing lessons and existing opportunities for similar programmes. In Kenya, there has been a paradigm shift from universal social protection schemes targeted at formal employees to inclusive schemes including both formal and informal sectors, corporations and individuals. Additionally, the Kenya Government priorities mapped out under the Vision 2030 development blue print includes the social pillaramong other initiatives.
This paper discusses a cash transfer programme for social protection as a development strategy for the ageing in Kenya using a political economy approach within an environment of increasingly policy institutional support. The paper further proposes a transformative thinking for planning social protection for the elderly by targeting the youth.
The main recommendations are that there is need for comprehensive approaches on SP to include; informal sectors’ investment schemes, private sector engagement as seen in emerging social insurance schemes, guaranteeing old age safety in terms of basics and recreational facilities. There is also need to nurture SP efforts amongst younger generations through targeted programs, continued sensitization and support mechanisms and further move from poverty alleviation to transformative social policies, from conventional safety nets to social livelihood transformations.

The paper concludes that Social protection development strategies are contributing to poverty reduction and achievement of MDGs. These strategies should be pegged on national economic performance and further be designed to cushion beneficiaries by inculcating elements of transformative social transfers to address challenges in design and implementation. The design should minimize possible dependency and other undesired outcomes. There is also need for evidence-based policy dialogue and research, continuously collect and collate data on impact of existing programs.

Population ageing in the Small Island Developing States of Africa: trends and socioeconomic implications

27 May 2016 12:16:42 GMT

Ageing of the population poses several profound impacts on every aspect of life. This phenomenon has been visible in the Small Island Developing States of Africa (SIDS) and is expected to continue in the next few decades as the SIDS are continuously experiencing one of the fastest ageing populations in Africa. In this context, SIDS in Africa including the Islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe have a unique demographic structure which is characterised by a large proportion of older persons.

The ageing profile of these countries presents a golden opportunity for research on aging and older persons in Africa as a blueprint for the rest of the continent. This paper argues that older persons in the SIDS in Africa are an important resource in the development process post-2015 and harnessing their potential for social economic development will lead to a second demographic dividend.

Directory of research on ageing in Africa 2004-2015

27 May 2016 12:08:48 GMT

The number of older persons in Africa is growing rapidly: between 2015 and 2030 the number of people aged 60 years or over in the region is projected to increase by more than 63 per cent (United Nations, 2015). Accordingly, the situation of older persons in Africa, in particular with respect to their well being, is a matter of growing concern among researchers and policymakers alike. This report provides an extensive directory of research on ageing in Africa covering the period 2004-2015, updating the Directory of Research on Ageing in Africa: 1995-2003 prepared previously by Dr. Paul Kowal for the World Health Organization. The Directory aims to profile, promote and encourage research into the health and needs of people aged 50 years or over in Africa, and to enable the use of evidence for policy. Such evidence is essential to enable countries undergoing rapid demographic and epidemiological transitions to develop appropriate policy responses and to monitor the implementation and impact of those policies.

The Directory includes descriptions of research activities submitted by primary investigators, with minimal editing. The submissions were summarized according to how the research results addressed the policy directions of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), and the research methods that have been applied. Taken as a whole, the Directory demonstrates the growing body of rigorous and in-depth research into ageing across Africa. While not all research on ageing in Africa has been included here, a review of the updated Directory indicates that research has been less active in some countries, and that some high-priority areas of research remain under-investigated. The process of creating the Directory revealed the difficulty of identifying research on ageing in Africa through searches of high-impact peer reviewed journals or standard bibliographic search engines. Much of the published research evidence on ageing in Africa presented in this Directory was identified through detailed internet searches or through the direct contributions of research collaborators.

Income security for all Ugandans in old age

27 May 2016 04:13:33 GMT

Uganda has a rich tradition of care and respect for the elderly. But, as in all societies, this informal system of support – while still functioning for some – is, for many others, beginning to weaken as a result of poverty, migration, urbanisation and the impact of HIV and AIDs. In response, the government of Uganda – with support from the United Kingdom, Ireland and UNICEF – has taken the first steps in building a pension system for every citizen, with the aim of ensuring that no older person has to live in abject poverty. A pilot scheme – known as the Senior Citizens’ Grant (SCG) – is currently being established in 14 Districts to assess the feasibility of providing every older person with a regular and secure cash income. If successful, the government is considering expanding the scheme across Uganda.

This paper will discuss the value of establishing a universal pension in Uganda. It will begin by considering the challenges currently facing the nation’s older citizens, before moving on to an overview of universal pensions in other developing countries. The paper will examine the evidence on the impacts of these pensions, before briefly describing the SCG and assessing its potential benefits and costs if it were to be expanded to all older citizens. Finally, the paper will argue that it is important to ensure that the pension is accessible to all older people and that its implementation would be a popular and welcome initiative.

Poverty, vulnerabiity and inequality in Uganda

27 May 2016 04:04:44 GMT

According to existing survey analysis, Uganda has made steady progress in poverty reduction over the past decade. However, these gains have not been experienced evenly, with large disparities in poverty levels across geographic areas and household characteristics. These disparities persist when poverty is examined across multiple deprivations– such as health, education, sanitation, and housing – rather than only consumption.

This study aims to fill some of the gaps in the current understanding of poverty, vulnerability,and equality in Uganda, with a particular view to informing the on-going policy discussions within the social protection sub-sector. The Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) Report (UBOS 2011) provides an excellent foundation, and this current study takes the opportunity to extend the analysis of poverty and vulnerability further while using a social protection lens.
The report concludes that whilst a focus on the 7.5 million Ugandans living below the basic needs poverty is still essential, a more dynamic understanding of poverty and vulnerability would imply a broader focus for poverty and vulnerability reduction efforts. In particular if the GoU is to build on and consolidate the poverty reduction gains made over the past two decades, policy responses which address the risks and vulnerabilities experienced by high numbers of Uganda’s population are necessary. This clearly implies a role for direct income support in providing the resilience and income security households need to effectively deal with shocks, make productive investments and carve a sustainable path out of poverty.

Demographics, societal aging, and meat consumption in China

23 May 2016 02:38:59 GMT

Drawn on the data collected by surveying 1,340 urban households from 6 cities in China, this paper estimates the impacts of demographic structure and population ageing on household meat consumption, by jointly considering meat consumed at-home and away-from-home. Based on the trajectories of population, a simple simulation on meat demand trend in China is conducted subsequently.

The results suggest:

  • meat consumed away-from-home averagely accounts for near 30% of household total meat consumption in terms of quantity, so that its omission likely leads to a significant underestimate of total meat consumption and misunderstanding the driving forces
  • population ageing significantly and negatively affects per capita meat consumption, suggesting that the expected meat demand in China without considering population ageing will be overestimated

The findings from this study have important implications for better understanding the relative issues on China’s meat consumption under the situation of population ageing. China has experienced rapid economic growth over the last three decades. This growth has led to a substantial improvement in people’s living standards and reduction in poverty, but it has also led to massive increases in the production of agricultural products. Additionally, the population structure in China is rapidly changing with an increasing proportion of the population being elderly, and this ageing trend is expected to continue into the future.

These economic and societal changes have potentially important implications concerning future food security in China. As the ageing of China’s population is inevitable, measuring and accounting for its effects on food consumption, particularly meat consumption, is essential in terms of agricultural planning and agricultural import policy. Although the quantity of grain consumed per person is decreasing as incomes have increased, per capita meat consumption is increasing. Because meat production is generally a grain intensive activity, it is possible for grain consumption to increase as the number of animals for meat production increases even while people eat less grain directly.

End the neglect: a study of humanitarian financing for older people

17 May 2016 12:52:43 GMT

As the scale of humanitarian needs around the world is greater than ever before, the financing of humanitarian response is coming under increasing scrutiny. Data from the latest Global humanitarian assistance report show that in 2014, international humanitarian funding rose for a second consecutive year, reaching a record high of US$24.5 billion – 19 per cent up on the previous year. Yet the data also reveal a growing gap between funding and needs. In 2014, while US$12 billion was allocated to UN-coordinated appeals, US$7.5 billion of requirements (38 per cent) were unmet.

At a global level, discussions of humanitarian financing, such as those reported on by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel, are addressing three critical questions: how to reduce humanitarian needs by addressing the root causes of crises; how to increase the resource base for the response; and how to improve the way aid is delivered while at the same time using it more effectively. The question of whether existing funding actually reaches the people most in need – a crucial one for all those concerned with the impartiality of humanitarian response – receives less attention.

Since 2010 HelpAge International has conducted an annual analysis, using humanitarian funding as a proxy indicator, to quantify the degree to which the specific needs of older people are reflected in humanitarian programming. In the absence of full reporting of humanitarian spending, HelpAge uses the United Nations (UN) Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) as a proxy for humanitarian funding (for further details see the Methodology section). HelpAge analysis in 2010 and 2011 found that fewer than 1 per cent of projects reviewed included activities targeting older people – a figure that rose only marginally to 2.1 per cent in 2012.

This report is the most recent study in the series. It provides new data on funding allocations in 2013 and 2014, and gives a longitudinal analysis of the extent to which humanitarian response is meeting older people’s needs.

Monitoring demographic indicators for the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a review of proposed approaches and opportunities

17 May 2016 03:30:01 GMT

This report reviews the indicators proposed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for the post-2015 SDG monitoring period that require access to population data or refer to demographic processes. It makes recommendations to strengthen the proposed monitoring framework. The report was conducted as part of the IUSSP’s activities related to the post-2015 data revolution with funding from UNFPA.
Based on a review of available data sources and estimation strategies, we suggest that low and middle-income countries where complete vital registration systems do not yet exist, or cannot be established in a short time,
should adopt a tiered SDG monitoring framework. This framework combines:
  • high-quality decennial censuses
  • annual surveys of the proximate determinants of fertility/mortality and
  • periodic large surveys of fertility/mortality with verbal autopsies (every 3-5 years)

Africa economic brief - aging population challenges in Africa

13 May 2016 12:12:04 GMT

This brief describes trends in population ageing in Africa relative to those in economically advanced countries. It highlights the key drivers of the phenomenon, both globally and in the African context more specifically.

The brief also analyses country-specific trends and demonstrates the reasons why the proportion of population 65 years and older is growing in many countries across the continent. Ageing is highly correlated with long-term physical and mental disability, and a number of long term chronic conditions and will likely increase personal care requirements.

Furthermore, most socioeconomic indicators for the elderly in Africa are low, and in many countries poverty rates among the elderly are  significantly higher than the national average.

Older voices in humanitarian crises: calling for change

10 May 2016 01:44:51 GMT

This report documents the situation of older refugees fleeing from conflict in Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan. The findings contribute to a growing body of evidence illustrating the failure of the humanitarian system to protect older people’s rights or meet their needs. The stories highlight the limited progress the humanitarian system has made to address the neglect of older people and other vulnerable groups.


In order to address the neglect faced by older people in emergencies, their opinions must be heard and changes made in the humanitarian system. Based on the findings of consultations with older women and men, HelpAge International is calling for the following:

Humanitarian responders should:

  • systematically engage with all affected people, including older women and men, to deliver meaningful participation and ensure that their views are reflected in responses, including assessment, design, delivery and monitoring and evaluation
  • collect, fully disaggregate, and utilise data for different population groups including older people, in order to provide robust evidence to design, revise and learn from programming that is reflective of, and appropriate for, the people and needs identified
  • address gaps in the quality of primary healthcare services for those with chronic diseases, ensuring adequate provision of NCD drugs and access to laboratory tests at primary healthcare level
  • ensure services to address psychological distress are accessible to older men and women, providing outreach counselling and support services for those who are unable to attend health centres
  • ensure mainstream response activities consider the needs of older men and women providing age-sensitive and physically accessible services. Provide outreach services for isolated people who cannot reach services

Humanitarian donors should:

  • Ensure that funding is commensurate with the scale of needs and is allocated impartially, recognising the needs of different groups including older people
  • Ensure funding is allocated only to funding actions that include an inclusive analysis of needs based on data that is fully disaggregated by sex, age and disability

All humanitarians should:

  • contribute to developing the understanding and skills of humanitarian actors so they can identify the needs of older people and deliver appropriate assistance
  • take responsibility for building core understanding among staff of the humanitarian principles and available guidance in support of inclusive programming for marginalised groups including older people. Where appropriate, build specialist skills to address the needs of vulnerable people in crisis

Aging, international capital flows and long run convergence

21 Apr 2016 11:41:51 GMT

In all regions of the world, population is aging, but at different paces, and according to the United Nations (2013) demographic projections, this phenomenon should go on until after the end of the century. This generalized but unequal aging process is occurring in a world of increasing capital mobility and technological transfers, which can o§er new opportunities for trade between regions. Moreover, this aging process increases the demographic dependency putting the unfunded pension schemes under pressure in developed countries, which in turn induces countries to change their rules of sharing of resources between generations, which infers on the individual choices of savings. Conversely, in the emerging countries, the unequal sharing of growth beneits and a longer life expectancy could encourage governments to settle or improve unfunded pension schemes and smooth the di§erences in welfare across generations. How in a globalized economy these antagonistic problematics resolve?

This paper analyses how the economic, demographic and institutional differences between two regions -one developed and called the North, the other emerging and called the South- drive the international capital flows and explain the world economic equilibrium. To this end, the authors develop a simple two-period OLG model. They compare closed-economy and open-economy equilibria. Then the paper considers that openness facilitates convergence of South's characterics towards North's. The authors examine successively the consequences of a technological catching-up, a demographic transition and an institutional convergence of pension schemes. We determine the analytical solution of the dynamics of the world interest rate and deduce the evolution of the current accounts. These analytical results are completed by numerical simulations. They show that the technological catching-up alone leads to a welfare loss for the North in reason of capital flows towards the South. If they then add to this first change a demographic transition, the capital demand is reduced in the South whereas its saving increases in reason of a higher life expectancy. These two effects contribute to reduce the capital flows from the North to the South. Finally, an institutional convergence of the two pension schemes reduces the South's saving rate which increases the capital flow from the North to the South

Progressive universalism? The impact of targeted coverage on healthcare access and expenditures in Peru

12 Apr 2016 08:58:24 GMT

Like other countries seeking a progressive path to universalism, Peru has attempted to reduce inequalities in access to healthcare by granting the poor entitlement to tax-financed basic care without charge. The authors identify the impact of this policy by comparing the target population’s change in healthcare utilization with that of poor adults already covered through employment-based insurance. There are positive effects on receipt of ambulatory care and medication that are largest among the elderly and the poorest. The probability of getting formal healthcare when sick is increased by almost two fifths, while the likelihood of being unable to afford treatment is reduced by more than a quarter. Consistent with the shallow cover offered, there is no impact on use of inpatient care. Mean out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure on healthcare is unaffected but spending is reduced by up to one quarter at some points of the distribution. Among healthcare users, medical spending is reduced across much of the distribution and in relative terms falls most at lower quantiles, which is consistent with limited nominal and effective coverage of expensive treatments.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s growing population of older persons

07 Apr 2016 11:45:38 GMT

The growing number of older persons in sub-Saharan Africa is a legacy of the high fertility that produced increasingly large birth cohorts during the twentieth century, as well as improving rates of survival to older ages. In 2015 there were 46 million people aged 60 years or over in sub-Saharan Africa, an increase from 23 million in 1990.

Highlights of this overview include:

  • the number of older persons in sub-Saharan Africa has doubled since 1990 and is projected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050 In 2015
  • across sub-Saharan Africa, there are marked differences in the percentage of older persons in the population. Although older persons comprised just under 5 per cent of the overall population of the region in 2015, in a number of countries the proportion of older persons was much greater
  • according to recent data, just under 17 per cent of people of pensionable age in sub-Saharan Africa received any pension, meaning that the overwhelming majority of older persons had to rely instead on their own labour earnings or savings, assistance from relatives, or charity for support
  • the labour force participation of older persons in Africa is the highest in the world. Among those aged 65 years or over in Africa, 52 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women were active in the labour force in 2015. By comparison, in Latin America and the Caribbean, 38 per cent of older men and 17 per cent of older women were working, and in Europe, only 10 per cent of older men and 6 per cent of older women were working
  • health systems in sub-Saharan Africa are confronted with a growing burden of illness due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are associated with old age
  • ensuring the well-being of the growing population of older persons in sub-Saharan Africa will be essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
  • more and better data and statistics on older persons in Africa are urgently needed in order to ensure continued progress in the implementation of Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) and the African Union Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Ageing (AU Plan), as well as the 2030 Agenda

Gender, Age and Migration: An extended briefing

07 Apr 2016 10:13:55 GMT

In many parts of the world, migration has replaced fertility and mortality as the leading agent of demographic change. A person’s gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality and health or disability shape every stage of the migration experience. This briefing focuses on gender and age, offering an insight into who migrates and who doesn’t, reasons for migrating, experiences of the migration process and what life is like for different groups of migrants and refugees when, and if, they reach their destinations. It concludes with a set of recommendations for more gender and age sensitive policy making.

Universal social pension: feasibility in the Philippines

05 Apr 2016 02:23:19 GMT

Levels of poverty, vulnerability and inequality remain high in the Philippines despite positive economic growth in recent years. Social protection is a critical tool for ensuring that growth is in-clusive, yet existing policies in the Philippines remain too limited to have a major impact. The majority of Filipinos cannot currently expect to receive a pension in their old age. A little over a quarter of senior citizens or 29 per cent of their population receive pension based on their previous working history. In this context, most senior citizens have to look to their families for financial support in old age. The social pension for indigent senior citizens has gone some way to close this gap, but does not go far enough. A universal social pension would close the pension coverage gap and provide a strong foundation for the development of the pension system.

Policy recommendations:

  • as a priority, expand the existing social pension to cover all senior citizens without any other form of pension, regardless of indigency. This will ensure that all Filipinos can expect at least a minimum pension in old age
  • initiate a broader process to reform the pension system as a whole so that is performs the dual function of ensuring a mini-mum level of adequacy, while providing a channel for all work-ers (formal or informal) to save for their old age


The Philippine social pension at four years: insights and recommendations

05 Apr 2016 02:19:15 GMT

Despite relatively sustained economic growth in recent years, levels of poverty and inequality in the Philippines have remained stagnant. This brings into focus the role of the social protection system to provide stronger protection against the risks Filipinos face throughout their lives. As it stands, just one in three Filipinos can expect to receive any kind of pension when they get old, with the rest left to rely on their families and continuing to work, to the extent that they can. This situation is set to become more acute as the population ages.

One of the most notable initiatives to address this challenge has been the introduction of a social pension for indigent senior citizens - any citizen aged 60 and over who are frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs - under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. The aim of the scheme is to support senior citizens in augmenting their daily subsistence and medical needs.

This study provides lessons in two areas key to assessing the progress of the Philippine social pension: (a) impact of the scheme, and (b) implementation. More specifically, the study seeks to explore the extent to which the PhP 500 benefit – recognized by many as particularly low – has an impact on recipients and their families in terms of implementation. The major focus is to evaluate the process of targeting and validation of indigent senior citizens.

No ceilings: The full participation report

01 Apr 2016 09:55:32 GMT

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the No Ceilings initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation joined forces to assess the evidence on the gains and gaps in progress for women and girls over the past 20 years.

The report asks:

  • what do women’s and girls’ lives look like around the world 20 years after the Beijing conference
  • what barriers remain? What do the numbers tell us? How have laws and policies progressed over the same period
  • what information do we still need in order to assess the status of women and girls?

Wherever possible, data for this report were collected over a complete 20-year time frame, and include regional or country snapshots in some areas. Efforts to aggregate data on women and girls made clear that key facts remain missing. While progress on data collection on women and girls has improved since 1995, few data are collected in some areas—for example, on women’s earnings in developing countries and on the number of women living in poverty. Women’s economic contributions are not fully measured, and their unpaid work at home is not valued in national accounts. Violence against women is chronically under-reported, and information on laws addressing gender-based violence is incomplete as well. Also, not enough is known about the environmental risks women face. In an era increasingly dominated by the Internet and mobile phones, few facts are available on whether—and how—women can access technology.

The report includes the following chapters:

  • Unlocking Potential  - examines the fundamental needs that must be fulfilled to allow women and girls to reach their full potential—including human rights that guarantee autonomy in family and civic life, and building blocks such as health and education
  • Ensuring Security - looks at threats to the security of women and girls in three areas. First, it reviews available data on violence that women face at home and in their communities. Second, it highlights conflict, focusing not only on sexual violence, but also on the status of women’s participation in resolving conflict. Third, it looks at environmental threats, including climate change and natural disasters
  • Creating Opportunity - examines women’s and girls’ ability to participate in economic, political, and social life. In the economic sphere, it considers constraints on participation and the repercussions of those limitations for women and their families, as well as for productivity and growth. It also looks at the ability of women and girls to have a voice in political and civic life. Finally, it evaluates two areas that have changed markedly since 1995—technology and the media—and considers whether women are able to access these tools, which are critical to full participation in the 21st century


The fiscal consequences of Shrinking Populations: by Benedict Clements, Kamil Dybczak, Vitor Gaspar, Sanjeev Gupta, and Mauricio Soto ; IMF Staff Discussion Notes No. 15/21; October 2015 - sdn1521.pdf

31 Mar 2016 02:16:45 GMT

Shrinking populations pose a formidable fiscal challenge. Declining fertility and increasing longevity will lead to a slower-growing, older world population. In most countries, population is projected by the United Nations (UN) to peak sometime this century and decline thereafter. For the world, the share of the population older than age 65 could increase from 12 percent today to 38 percent by 2100. To some extent, this represents the culmination of a long-term demographic transition associated with technological progress as well as the rise in the demand for human capital which initially boosts populations (as observed for most of human history), but eventually leads to lower fertility. This, in turn, contributes to a more sustainable pattern of development and reduced pressures on the environment. These developments would place public finances of countries under pressure, through two channels. First, spending on age-related programs (pensions and health) would rise. Without further reforms, these outlays would increase by 9 percentage points of GDP and 11 percentage points of GDP in more and less developed countries, respectively, between now and 2100. The fiscal consequences are potentially dire: such spending increases could lead to unsustainable public debts, require sharp cuts in other spending, or necessitate large tax increases that could stymie economic growth. Second, declining populations can reduce economic growth and—if not accompanied by a commensurate reduction in interest rates—make it more difficult for countries to reduce their public debt as a share of GDP. Projecting demographics is a risky business, and policymakers should be prepared to deal with an even faster transition to declining populations. The authors warn that their fiscal projections rely on the UN’s medium demographic scenario and should be interpreted with caution, as in the past fertility and mortality have declined at a much faster pace than projected. The fiscal risks associated with this uncertainty are mammoth in the long term. Given the magnitude of the needed policy response, a multi-pronged approach will be required: entitlement reform—starting now but at a gradual pace. Reforms should start now but be gradual in order to spread the burden across generations and to avoid policy reversals policies that affect demographics and labor markets. Boosting fertility rates could offset aging. But, at the same time, the ability of public policies to control birth rates appears limited. Raising migration from the younger, less developed economies to the older, more developed economies would ameliorate spending pressures and provide time to phase in reforms, but it remains a politically sensitive issue. Policies that increase labor force participation of women and the elderly hold promise better tax systems and more efficient public expenditure. In many countries it will be impossible to fully offset the impact of d[...]

Taxing pensions

23 Mar 2016 04:52:42 GMT

There exists a wide variety of tax treatments of pensions across the world. And the reasons for such a range of regimes are not clear. This note reviews the general principles of pension taxes and analyses the theoretical foundations of why pension incomes ought to be taxed specifcally. To do this, one has to distinguish between public and private pensions. The design of public pensions cannot be separated from the one of taxation. Regarding private pensions, the key issue is whether or not pension saving ought to be treated differently from other forms of saving.

The gender dimensions of pension systems: policies and constraints for the protection of older women

21 Mar 2016 01:39:37 GMT

This paper examines the challenges and constraints that pension systems face to be gender equitable and the policy alternatives to address these challenges. It also focuses on pension system rules and how they interact with other social and labour market conditions over women's life courses to reproduce or mitigate gender inequalities in old age. 

The findings reveal that crucial policy choices for the protection of women concern the conditions for entitlements in pension systems (based on either work, need or citizenship), the types of transfers that are promoted between women and men, the policy tools available to offset gender differences in paid work, earnings and unpaid work (such as contribution credits) and the protection of the most vulnerable social groups through redistributive benefits. 


Family planning: the key to sustainable development

04 Mar 2016 08:26:05 GMT

January 2016 saw the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which comprised of 17 objectives that will guide the development agenda until 2030. At the same time, the International Conference on Family Planning met in Indonesia in an event which was intimately tied to the SDGs through the fundamental importance of family planning to so many of the proposed goals. That is the message of this briefing, produced by Population Matters in anticipation of the Indonesian conference. It highlights how almost all of the SDGs are negatively impacted by population growth, and other factors for which family planning is central in alleviating. The briefing begins by introducing the current trends in population growth around the world, noting that current projections estimate the addition of one billion people by 2030, rising to an additional four billion by 2100. The majority of this growth will be seen in developing countries, with many expecting their populations to double by 2050. Fortunately, countries across different continents, and with very different cultures, have shown that fertility rates can be rapidly reduced through measures such as reducing child marriage, enhancing women’s empowerment, increasing access to contraceptives, and other methods of family planning. The current state of family planning provision worldwide is summarised, with the authors highlighting that that there are still an estimated 200 million women without access to safe methods of family planning. It is also estimated that the financial cost of providing universal access to family planning lies in the region of $6.7 billion per year, making it possible that family planning is the most beneficial and cost-effective technology that can possibly be deployed in the advancement of the SDGs. The majority of the briefing details the many ways in which family planning can address challenges faced by a number of the SDGs: SDGs one and two, concerning poverty and hunger: high population growth can inhibit economic growth, which is a main driver in reducing poverty and hunger. In line with this, family planning that reduces fertility rates has been shown to correlate with significant economic growth. Increases in labour supply can also negatively impact poverty and hunger, through unemployment and lower wages. SDG three, concerning health: rapid population growth, pregnancy-related deaths, HIV/AIDS prevalence, and higher child mortality through lack of immunisations or appropriate nutrition are all stresses on health systems that family planning can help alleviate. Additionally, family planning can reduce the spread of communicable diseases by lowering population density. SDG four, on education: high fertility rates have led to rapid growth in the population of primary-school age children, putting severe strain on the education systems of sub-Saharan Afri[...]

Women and health: the key for sustainable development

04 Mar 2016 08:13:34 GMT

The health of women and girls is currently in an era of transition; significant improvements have occurred in the last few decades, but there are still important unmet needs, and challenging trends related to aging demographics and population growth. There has also been a broadening of focus beyond a narrow emphasis on maternal and child health, to include sexual and reproductive health, and a more life-course approach to women’s health generally. This increasing complexity requires a comprehensive perspective on entire health systems, which in many places is heavily reliant on women in their traditional roles as caregivers, both paid and unpaid. Such perspectives must be interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral, and aim to identify women-centred solutions to the unique challenges women and girls face as both consumers and providers of healthcare. A Lancet Commission was established to examine both existing and original evidence about the complex relations between women and health, including in the context of major economic, environmental, social, political, demographic, and epidemiological transitions happening worldwide. A life-course approach is used to analyse the health status of women and girls worldwide, and the authors estimate the financial value of women’s paid and unpaid healthcare provision, noting that the latter is often an ignored healthcare subsidy. The report is full of useful and interesting infographics, such as a timeline tracing all of the major milestones for women and health since the beginning of the twentieth century, empirical data, and comprehensive analysis of the intersection of women and health from birth to death. Seven key messages are highlighted from the report: Economic, environmental, social, political, and demographic transitions all affect women’s health and their rights and roles in society, leading to a complex epidemiological transition and increased care-giving needs and demands. To ensure that all women’s comprehensive health needs are met, health systems and societies should simultaneously and effectively complete reproductive health, nutrition, and infectious disease agendas, and tackle the emerging epidemic of chronic and noncommunicable diseases. The response to noncommunicable diseases so far is not adequate for those who are especially vulnerable because of biology, gender, and social determinants. The cycle of poor women typically receiving care from the most disenfranchised members of the health system needs to be broken, as it leads to the perpetuation of inequities among population groups. The importance of women’s labour in health systems, and their crucial roles in the health care of families and communities, are still under-appreciated; on the basis of an analysis of 32 countries accounting for 52% of the world’s population, the[...]

Institutions and policy measures for the development of Korea's asset management industry

04 Mar 2016 02:02:57 GMT

Institutions and Policy Measures for the Development of Korea's Asset Management Industry The asset management industry is a service industry where professionals run assets provided by individual investors. Korea's asset management industry started to develop with the purpose to foster the capital market so that funds could be directed for Korean economic development.

In this report, the authors examine the historical development and growth of Korean asset management industry and take a detailed look at the growth of Korea’s pension market which has provided the fertile soil for the development of Korean asset management industry. Pensions can promote the development of the capital market and asset management industry in three aspects:

  • since a pension plan is developed as a long-term contract, the asset management based on the pension can also be developed on a long-term basis. Asset management based on the pension can be less affected by the short-term movement of the asset market, and thus the investment in long-term assets and high-risk assets can be promoted
  • since the assets based on pension plans managed are mainly by institutional investors, the role of institutional investors in the financial market becomes more significant as the pension market grows. Since institutional investors have more expertise and greater accessibility to information than individual investors, they can make investments in riskier and more complex financial products
  • as pension management institutions face risks such as longevity and inflation risks, the demand for financial products to manage such risks increases and the increase in such demand can lead to the development of the capital market



A note on defining the dependent population based on age

03 Mar 2016 12:42:23 GMT

Dependent population is defined as that part of the population that does not work and relies on others for the goods and services they consume. In practice, specific population age groups have in their entirety been categorised as dependent population, even while the definition may not necessarily apply to every individual in the population with the indicated ages. In general those categorised as dependents include the children and the elderly. The rest of the population constitutes the working age population.

The delineation of any boundary for children and for working ages varies across countries and studies, has tended to be discretionary, and thus appears arbitrary. In the Philippines the delineation is based on the legal definition for working ages set at 15 to 64 years (with provision for early retirement at age 60 years.). The implied dependent ages in the Philippines are then 0-14 years a nd 60 or 65 years and older. The dependent ages used in the OECD definition for dependency ratio are under 20 and over 64. In other studies, children include those in the population up to age 18 or 20 and those in the working ages limited to 59 years or younger.

This paper shows that the dependent population(s) defined based on a given set of age cut-offs are generally heterogeneous in terms of personal attributes, particularly in terms of indicators of dependency or non-dependency. Thus, the population defined by any given age boundaries may satisfy some indicators of dependency but not others. That is, the age boundary delineated using one dependency indicator, as reference, could be found unsatisfactory when assessed based on a different indicator. Those considering the use of any defined set of age boundaries to identify the dependent populations, whether for research or for the implementation of support programs, should first assess the appropriateness of the boundaries for the intended use. Identifying the dependency indicators relevant to the intended use would facilitate the assessment.

Consumption, income, and intergenerational reallocation of resources: application of NTA in the Philippines, 1999

03 Mar 2016 12:03:51 GMT

A country’s population consists of persons at different ages and stages of their economic lifecycle. Those in the population that are incurring lifecycle deficits would not be able to sufficiently support themselves, while those generating surpluses would have more than they require. Resources then have to be reallocated or transferred from the surplus age groups (working ages) to the deficit age groups (children and elderly) and there are various ways to achieve these across age transfers or intergenerational reallocations.

Lifecycle consumption and income patterns, and the systems for age reallocations in the Philippines, are examined in this paper using the 1999 National Transfer Accounts (NTA) Flow Accounts estimates. This paper finds that:

  • Filipinos incur lifecycle deficits and do not become self-sufficient until after age 25, lifecycle surpluses are generated for the next 35 years, and at age 61 consumption starts to exceed labor earnings and lifecycle deficits are once again incurred
  • in 1999 the estimated aggregate lifecycle deficits amounted to about PhP1,061 billion in current prices (with the young and elderly accounting for 93 percent and 7 percent, respectively) while surpluses generated by the working age group amounted to PhP461 billion, or an excess of PhP600 billion of deficits over surplus
  • the mix of systems that support the consumption of Filipinos in the deficit ages differ between the young and the elderly groups, with the mix also changing with age for the elderly deficit group
  • the financing of consumption of children up to age 14 is primarily by public and private transfers, while for the age group 15-25 about half of consumption is already paid for by own wages but a significant part continues to be supported by private transfers; and
  • consumption of the elderly is financed by own earnings, asset reallocation, private transfers (starting age 73) and to a very small extent by public transfers (starting age 80)


Measuring economic lifecycle and flows across population age groups: data and methods in the application of the NTA in the Philippines

03 Mar 2016 02:54:14 GMT

The age structure of the population of the Philippines, as in many developing countries in the world, will be experiencing significant changes in the next four decades. These changes can have potentially important implications on economic development. Many studies in the Philippines have examined the population-development linkages. The National Transfer Accounts (NTA) offers another way to examine these links. In the NTA the interaction among population age structure, economic lifecycle behavior and systems for intergenerational support, and their potential implications on the accumulation of wealth, rates of economic grow th and generational equity are examined. An important feature of the NTA is the central role played by intergenerational transfer of resources in explaining the link between population and development.

The main purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the NTA system and then describe the methods and data used in the application of NTA in the Philippines. The NTA system is consistent with the System of National Accounts. It provides methodologies for assigning labor earnings and consumption to population age groups, and for estimating reallocation or transfer of economic resources across age groups. Age reallocations are generally from the working age groups to children and the elderly. Data sources for the estimation of components of the NTA Flow Accounts for the Philippines include National Income Accounts, National Health Accounts, National Education Expenditure Accounts, household income and expenditure surveys, and government finance documents. Some Philippines NTA results are presented as examples, specifically the age profiles of current consumption (C), labor income (YL) and the life cycle deficit (LCD).