Reforming Pensions: Principles and an Policy Choices

Hardcover | October 18, 2008

byNicholas Barr, Peter Diamond

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Mandatory pensions are a worldwide phenomenon. However, with fixed contribution rates, monthly benefits, and retirement ages, pension systems are not consistent with three long-run trends: declining mortality, declining fertility, and earlier retirement. Many systems need reform. This bookgives an extensive nontechnical explanation of the economics of pension design. The theoretical arguments have three elements: * Pension systems have multiple objectives--consumption smoothing, insurance, poverty relief, and redistribution. Good policy needs to bear them all in mind. * Good analysis should be framed in a second-best context-- simple economic models are a bad guide to policy design in a world with imperfect information and decision-making, incomplete markets and taxation. * Any choice of pension system has risk-sharing and distributional consequences, which the book recognizes explicitly. Barr and Diamond's analysis includes labor markets, capital markets, risk sharing, and gender and family, with comparison of PAYG and funded systems, recognizing that the suitable level of funding differs by country. Alongside the economic principles of good design, policy must also take account of a country's capacity to implement the system. Thus the theoretical analysis is complemented by discussion of implementation, and of experiences, both good and bad, in many countries, with particular attention toChile and China.

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Mandatory pensions are a worldwide phenomenon. However, with fixed contribution rates, monthly benefits, and retirement ages, pension systems are not consistent with three long-run trends: declining mortality, declining fertility, and earlier retirement. Many systems need reform. This bookgives an extensive nontechnical explanation of ...

Nicholas Barr is Professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics, the author of numerous books and articles, and a Trustee of HelpAge International. He spent two periods at the World Bank working on income transfers in Central and Eastern Europe and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Fiscal Affairs Department at the I...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:October 18, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195311302

ISBN - 13:9780195311303

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The backdropPART I: Principles2. Core purposes of pension systems3. Basic features of pension systems4. The basic economics of pensions5. Pensions and labor markets6. Finance and funding7. Redistribution and risk sharing8. Gender and family9. Implementing pensions10. Conclusion to Part IPART II: Policy choices11. International diversity and change12. Chile: The pension system13. Chile: Proposed directions for reform14. China: The pension system15. China: Potential directions for reformPART III: Conclusion16. Policy questions, and some answers