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Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero, Mr. Peter S. Heller, Mr. Menachem Katz, Mr. Robert A Feldman, Mr. Richard Hemming, Mr. Peter Kohnert, Ziba Farhadian, Mr. Donogh McDonald, Ahsan S. Mansur, and Mr. Bernard Nivollet

Abstract

Most of the seven major industrial countries are now experiencing significant changes in their demographic structure. A persistent pattern of declining fertility and improving life expectancy has created major segments of the population that are already relatively aged or will become so in the near future. This paper examines the impact of prospective demographic trends on the level and structure of social expenditure by the governments of the seven major industrial countries (the Group of Seven) through the year 2025.

Sheetal K. Chand and Mr. Albert Jaeger

Abstract

This paper discusses a study analyzing aging populations and public pension schemes. An aging society is characterized by a growing proportion of the retired to the active working population. The study examines the pension-related aging problem primarily from a fiscal perspective. It analyzes how prospective demographic developments that affect the proportion of the pensionable elderly affect pension outlays. It confirms that very serious fiscal stresses are in prospect for most industrial economies. Addressing such problems satisfactorily will require major actions early, given the long lead times involved in reforming a pension fund's financial position.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

Pension reform is high on the policy agenda of many advanced and emerging market economies. In advanced economies the challenge is generally to contain future increases in public pension spending as the population ages. In emerging market economies, the challenges are often different. Where pension coverage is extensive, the issues are similar to those in advanced economies. Where pension coverage is low, the key challenge will be to expand coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. This volume examines the outlook for public pension spending over the coming decades and the options for reform in 52 advanced and emerging market economies.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

Pension reforms should (1) contribute to fiscal consolidation efforts, (2) address equity issues, and (3) support economic growth. The objective of public pensions is to provide retirement income security within the context of a sustainable fiscal framework. The importance of providing income security, especially for low-income groups, suggests that pension reform must also be equitable. Furthermore, the design of public pensions has the potential to affect economic growth through its impact on labor markets and national saving. These issues are discussed further below and provide the guiding principles behind the pension reform options outlined in Chapter 7 for advanced, emerging European, and other emerging market economies.

Mr. Alfred Schipke and Mr. Dominique Desruelle

Abstract

How to entrench hard-won gains, increase resilience to shocks, and improve growth performance to reduce poverty? As Central America moves forward in regaining macroeconomic stability, these are the challenges. This study analyzes Central America’s real, fiscal, monetary, and financial sector policies at the regional level, starting with a review of growth performance and the macroeconomic implications of remittances. It then looks at the sustainability of pension systems, financial system development, sovereign debt vulnerabilities, and ways to sustain progress in reducing inflation by strengthening the credibility of central banks.

Mr. Sergei V. Alexashenko and Mr. Augusto López-Claros

Abstract

Since 1992, the Russian Federation has moved away from a command economy and has laid the foundation of a market-based system. This paper examines some of the key fiscal policy issues that arose in 1992-96, the period following the onset of economic liberalization and reform.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Frank Eich, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alvar Kangur, Baoping Shang, and Mauricio Soto

Abstract

This chapter analyzes historical trends in public pension spending in advanced and emerging market economies. These trends must be observed against the backdrop of gradual population aging. During 1970–2010 the old-age dependency ratio—that is the number of people ages 65 and older divided by the number of people ages 16 to 64 (the “working age”)—increased from 17 percent to close to 25 percent in advanced economies and from 10 percent to nearly 14 percent in emerging markets (Figure 3.1). In other words, for every person 65 and over there are currently four people of working age in advanced economies and just more than six in emerging market economies. In most countries the gradual increase in part reflects increases in life expectancy but mainly the decline in fertility rates since the 1950s. As a result of the latter, the working-age population has been growing less rapidly. Migration is the other key demographic variable that can affect the old-age dependency ratio. In many countries, though, its impact on the overall population structure and hence the age distribution is not significant.

Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero, Mr. Peter S. Heller, Mr. Menachem Katz, Mr. Robert A Feldman, Mr. Richard Hemming, Mr. Peter Kohnert, Ziba Farhadian, Mr. Donogh McDonald, Ahsan S. Mansur, and Mr. Bernard Nivollet

Abstract

Most of the seven major industrial countries are now experiencing significant changes in their demographic structure. A persistent pattern of declining fertility and improving life expectancy has created major segments of the population that are already relatively aged or will become so in the near future. This substantial change in the demographic structure is likely to have far-reaching implications. As to the economic ramifications alone, it is likely to affect the size, structure, and dynamics of the labor force and may cause difficulties in accommodating an aging work force; it may significantly challenge the maintenance of sustained and buoyant growth; and it is likely to alter the demand for goods and services. As to implications for the public sector, it is likely to influence the demand not only for pensions, but for other social expenditures as well (on education, medical care, etc.,). Furthermore, such a change could pose serious financial problems as the working-age segment of the population shrinks in proportion to the retired segment heightening the likelihood of intergenerational conflict. In most countries, concern over the aging problem has led to considerable discussion and the enactment of specific policy measures in the areas of pensions and medical care. Nevertheless, despite the potential importance of this issue, none of the seven major industrial countries has undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the combined impact of an aging population on the various components of government expenditure.1

Mr. Mohsin S. Khan and Mr. Dimitri G Demekas

Abstract

In December 1989, with the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania reached a turning point in its history. The provisional Government that took over announced immediately a sharp and permanent break with the past, both political and economic. With respect to the latter, Romania was to abandon the central planning model under which it had operated since the late 1940s, and was to move as rapidly as possible to establish an economic system in which private sector activities would be given maximum scope and market forces would play the predominant role in economic decision making and resource allocation.

Mr. Jerald A Schiff, Mr. Axel Schimmelpfennig, Mr. Niko A Hobdari, and Mr. Roman Zytek

Abstract

In recent years, the issue of pension reform has been high on the agenda of many countries. To a large extent, this reflects common concerns regarding demographic trends of declining birthrates and increasing life expectancies that have shed serious doubt on the sustainability of current pension systems. Most countries have attempted to shore up their pay-as-you-go (PAYG) systems through some combination of reduced lifetime benefits and higher social taxes.