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IDB - Inter-American Development Bank : Towards An Adequate Pension for All by 2050

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10/16/2013 | 04:09pm CET
  • Currently, only 4 out of 10 people over 65 are saving for retirement in Latin American and the Caribbean. Most pensions are less than $10 a day.
  • By 2050, 140 million adults will reach retirement age. In the absence of reforms, between 47 percent and 60 percent will not have saved enough to receive an adequate pension.
  • Reforms tackling universal coverage and incentives for formal jobs could cost around 1 percent of GDP.

It is feasible to guarantee an adequate pension for all citizens and encourage the creation of formal jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new publication of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) entitled "Better Pensions, Better Jobs: Towards Universal Coverage in Latin America and the Caribbean".

The publication notes that, at present, only 4 out of 10 people are saving for retirement in the region, a situation that can have serious social and economic consequences as the population ages. By 2050, 140 million people will reach retirement age and, in the absence of reforms, it is estimated that between 66 and 83 million people will not have contributed enough to receive a pension.

During the presentation of the book, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno pointed out that the creation of formal jobs is key to guaranteeing sustainable pension systems. "We believe that pension reform would not only provide incentives to boost formal employment and productivity, but also encourage investments in infrastructure and human capital in the region", Moreno said.

Carmen Pagés-Serra, coauthor of the book and Head of the Labor Markets and Social Security Unit at the IDB, noted that "reform goes hand in hand with establishing sustainable and efficient anti-poverty pension schemes and simultaneously encouraging the growth of formal employment, for example, by subsidizing pension contributions. Moreover, advances are required in the areas of financial controls, information and education".

The region is still young, which facilitates political approval of the reforms and reduces their cost. The publication concludes that pensions could be made universal by earmarking less than 1 percent of GDP, to be funded through sales or commodity taxes, for example.

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