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Eliminating poverty in old age: are social pensions the answer?

Jean-Jacques Dethier's picture

Poverty in old age is prevalent in a large number of Latin American countries. Universal minimum pensions would be an effective and administratively simple way to substantially reduce poverty among the elder generation.

Photo: © Charlotte Kesl / World Bank
Alleviating poverty in old age requires a different approach from other age groups. Since poverty reduction efforts through labor market or education policies are ineffective, the only available instrument is to directly transfer money so the elderly can purchase goods and services. In rich countries, pension systems transfer money from the rich to the poor and often include a minimum pension that contributes significantly to reducing poverty.  But in developing countries, pension systems have such a low coverage that they cannot deal with old-age poverty.  In Latin America, which has what social scientists call a “truncated welfare state” - with income redistribution for the better-off and exclusion for those in need—most poor people are not covered by pension systems.

Inclusive is the new black

Michael Jarvis's picture

One hears less about the base of the pyramid these days. Instead, "inclusive" remains the clear buzzword of choice for now. The recent UN Millennium Development Goals Summit generated a side workshop on Inclusive Business organized by a roll call of organizations. Now IFC is hosting its own event on Inclusive Business Solutions around the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings this week. The term is pervasive.

What is your crazy idea?

Mamata Pokharel's picture

When you think fashion, the last thing you would imagine is a person wearing the same dress over and over and over again – for a whole year. Yet, that is what Sheena Matheiken, founder of the Uniform Project did. She pledged to wear one little black dress for 365 days to promote sustainability, and raise funds for the Akanksha Foundation – a non-profit organization providing education to children living in Indian slums.

34 million jobs lost

Ryan Hahn's picture

The most recent ILO estimates—from January of this year—put global job losses between 2007 and 2009 at 34 million. This, of course, is on top of the many people who continue to have a job but have seen their hours (and wages) slashed. Some persuasive research indicates that reduced hours was more of an issue than outright job losses in middle-income countries.

Join the discussion at Open Forum

World Bank Data Team's picture

open-forum_logo-no-text.jpegOn October 7-8, the world's financial leaders will be in Washington, D.C., discussing the most pressing issues in the wake of the financial crisis. You’re invited to join the conversation at the World Bank Open Forum, an online event featuring expert discussions, live video and a 24-hour chat-room on three key issues: free and open data, global job creation, and major development challenges.

Long Live Television?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Suppose you want to run an awareness campaign for, say, methods that prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in a sub-Saharan country. Suppose you want to reach the widest possible audience because most adults are concerned by this issue. Suppose you have a well thought-out campaign message. Which medium do you go for?


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