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Samuel Pienknagura and Christopher Evans
Chile’s pension system came under close scrutiny in recent years. This paper takes stock of the adequacy of the system and highlights its challenges. Chile’s defined contribution system was quite influential when introduced, and was taken as an example by other countries. However, it is now delivering low replacement rates relative to OECD peers, as its parameters did not adapt over time to changing demographics and global returns, while informality persists in the labor market. In the absence of reforms, the system’s inability to deliver adequate outcomes for a large share of participants will continue to magnify, as demographic trends and low global interest rates will continue to reduce replacement rates. In addition, recent legislation allowing for pension savings withdrawals to counter the effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, is projected to further reduce replacement rates and increase fiscal costs. A substantial improvement in replacement rates is feasible, via a reform that raises contribution rates and the retirement age, coupled with policies that increases workers’ contribution density.
Mr. Alvar Kangur, Niki Kalavrezou, and Mr. Daehaeng Kim
The Greek pension system has been costly, complex, and distortive, which has contributed to Greece’s fiscal problems and discouraged labor force participation. Several attempts to reform the system faltered due to lack of implementation, pushback by vested interests, and court rulings leading to reversals. A series of reforms introduced throughout 2015–17 unified benefit and contribution rules, removed several distortions and reduced fragmentation and costs. If fully implemented throughout the long-term, these reforms can go a long way towards enhancing the pension system affordability. However, reforms faced setbacks and fell short of creating stronger incentives to build long contribution histories, to deliver sustainable growth by improving the fiscal policy mix, and to ensure fairness and equitable burden sharing across generations and interest groups. Policy priorities should aim towards fully implementing the 2015–17 reforms and complementing them with additional reforms to address these remaining objectives.
Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Asel Isakova, and Anna Ter-Martirosyan
Sharing economic benefits equitably across all segments of society includes addressing the specific challenges of different generations. At present, youth and elderly are particularly vulnerable to poverty relative to adults in their middle years. Broad-based policies should aim to foster youth integration into the labor market and ensure adequate income and health care support for the elderly. Turning to the intergenerational dimension, everyone should have the same chances in life, regardless of their family background. Policies that promote social mobility include improving access to high-quality care and education starting from a very early age, supporting lifelong learning, effective social protection schemes, and investing in infrastructure and other services to reduce spatial segregation.
Daniel Baksa, Zsuzsa Munkacsi, and Carolin Nerlich
Several European countries are currently considering reversing parts of their pension reforms that were adopted previously to improve sustainability. In this paper we present a framework that allows us to quantify the macroeconomic and fiscal costs of such reversals. We thereby integrate the country-specific information from the latest Ageing Report into a dynamic general equilibrium model with overlapping generations. Focusing on Germany and Slovakia as country cases, our model replicates the Ageing Report’s pension expenditure projections very well. We calculate the macroeconomic impact of first the additional pension reforms needed to contain the public debt pressures arising from population ageing and second the costs of reform reversals. Our model results show that undoing past pension reforms would generate substantial adverse macroeconomic costs and could pose challenges for fiscal sustainability.
Christoph Freudenberg and Mr. Frederik G Toscani
Past reforms have put the Peruvian pension system on a largely fiscally sustainable path, but the system faces important challenges in providing adequate pension levels for a large share of the population. Using administrative microdata at the affiliate level, we project replacement rates in the defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pillars over the next 30 years and simulate the impact of various reform scenarios on the average level and distribution of pensions. In the DB pillar, the regressive minimum contribution period should be re-thought, while in the DC pillar a broadening of the contribution base and/or an increase in contribution rates would help increase replacement rates relative to the baseline forecast of 25-33 percent. A higher net real rate of return than assumed in the baseline would also have a significant positive impact. In the medium-term, labor market reform to tackle informality, and a broad pension reform to restructure the system and avoid competition between the DB and DC pillars should be a priority. Given low pension coverage, having a strong non-contributory pillar will remain important for the foreseeable future.
Mr. Si Guo and Mr. Futoshi Narita
Pacific island countries are exposed to significant risks from natural disasters. As a disaster relief measure, Fiji allowed pre-retirement pension withdrawls in the wake of Cyclone Winston in 2016. Motivated by this policy action, we provide a normative analysis of the use of early pension withdrawals after disasters, by setting up a life-cycle saving model with myopic households facing large natural disaster shocks. The model demonstrates the key trade-off between building up sufficient retirement savings and ensuring the access to savings against natural disaster shocks, and sheds light on welfare implications of early pension withdrawals.
Michal Andrle, Mr. Shafik Hebous, Mr. Alvar Kangur, and Mr. Mehdi Raissi
Published in late 2017, the Italian medium-term fiscal plan aims to achieve structural balance by 2020, although concrete, high-quality measures to meet the target are yet to be specified. This paper seeks to contribute to the discussion by (i) assessing spending patterns to identify areas for savings; (ii) evaluating the pension system; (iii) analyzing the scope for revenue rebalancing; and (iv) putting forward a package of spending cuts and tax rebalancing that is growth friendly and inclusive, could have limited near-term output costs, and would achieve a notable reduction in public debt over the medium term. Such a package could help the authorities balance the need to bring down public debt and, thus, reduce vulnerabilities while supporting the economic recovery.