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.
Gains in labor force participation rates in Chile have slowed in recent years. We examine their determinants using a cohort-model analysis. Allowing for both age- and cohort-specific effects in the context of a seemingly unrelated regression equations (SURE) approach, we find that age factors play an important role in determining participation decisions, especially for males. For females, we find that strong positive time trends dominate the downward pressure from demographics, although those trends have recently dissipated. In addition, we find that both cohort effects and the business cycle shape participation decisions. Using our cohort-based analysis, we construct projections of participation rates, which suggest population aging will put downward pressure on labor inputs, and thus potential output, in coming years. Further increases in female labor force participation—supported by policies— could more than offset the downward pressure from demographics.
Women across the world remain an underutilized resource in the labor force. Participation in the labor force averages around 80 percent for men but only 50 percent for women – nearly half of women’s productive potential remains untapped compared to one-fifth for men. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), as a region, saw the largest gains in female labor force participation (LFP) in the world during the last two decades. Women in LAC are becoming increasingly active in paid work, closing the gap with men and catching up to their counterparts in advanced economies at an impressive rate. In this paper, we document the recent trends in female LFP and female education in the LAC region, discuss the size of potential gains to GDP from increasing female LFP and policies which could be deployed towards this goal.
Mr. Christian Gonzales, Ms. Sonali Jain-Chandra, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, Ms. Monique Newiak, and Mr. Tlek Zeinullayev
This study shows empirically that gender inequality and income inequality are strongly interlinked, even after controlling for standard drivers of income inequality. The study analyzes gender inequality by using and extending the United Nation’s Gender Inequality Index (GII) to cover two decades for almost 140 countries,. The main finding is that an increase in the GII from perfect gender equality to perfect inequality is associated with an almost 10 points higher net Gini coefficient. For advanced countries, with higher gender equity in opportunities, income inequality arises mainly through gender gaps in economic participation. For emerging market and developing countries, inequality of opportunity, in particular in education and health, appear to pose larger obstacles to income equality.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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