Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas

Stephen J. Kay and Tapen Sinha, Editors

Latin American experiments with pension reform began when Chile converted its public pay-as-you-go system to a system of private individual accounts in the early 1980s. Several other Latin American countries then followed suit, inspired both by Chile’s reforms and by World Bank recommendations stressing compulsory government-mandated individual saving accounts. Individual accounts were subsequently introduced in a number of countries in Europe and Asia.

Many are now re-evaluating these privatisations, with the most dramatic effort to ‘reform the reform’ coming from Chile, where President Michelle Bachelet has recently backed a comprehensive initiative aimed at making the system more efficient and equitable. This volume is the first to assess pension reforms in this new ‘post-privatization’ era.

Section 1 of the book begins with a discussion on demographic trends by Nobel laureate Robert W. Fogel, followed by several chapters on system design and their policy implications. Work covers demographic trends, pension system default options, and an analysis of World Bank’s policies and how they have evolved. The section concludes with chapters on reform and the role of gender in pensions. Section 2 offers in-depth analysis of major reform efforts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina.

The volume provides an unparalleled account of the lessons from pension reform in the Americas, addressing the most pressing policy issues and highlighting a broad range of country experiences.

January 2008 · Oxford University Press · ISBN 0-19-922680-6