The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
In the USSR in 1990, social security reforms led to the imposition of a uniform system of benefits in a large and demographically diverse country. This required inter-regional transfers, which are now no longer feasible with the demise of the USSR. Relatively high contribution rates also pose a problem for a nascent commercialized sector. The paper argues that benefit levels in some former Soviet Union countries are now unsustainable. The price shock associated with the 'transition' to a market economy should lead to a consideration of a 'mix' of policies, including a basic benefit in kind. While funded systems may eventually reduce contribution rates, there are implementation difficulties in the medium term.