First published in 1948, the International Social Security Review is the principal international quarterly publication in the field of social security.
Articles by leading social security experts around the world present international comparisons and in-depth discussions of topical questions as well as studies of social security systems in different countries, and there is a regular, comprehensive round-up of all the latest publications in its field.
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Volume 66 Issue 2 (April‐June 2013)
Across the world, pension systems and their reforms are in a constant state of flux driven by a shifting focus, moving reform needs, and a changing enabling environment that reflect objective events but also changes in views and perception. The ongoing worldwide financial crisis and the adjustment to an uncertain “new normal” will make future pension systems different from past ones. The objectives of this article are: i) to briefly review recent and ongoing key changes that are triggering reforms; ii) to outline the main reform trends across pension pillars over the last two decades; and iii) to present key policy areas on which the pension reform community will need to focus to make a difference.
The choice of the methodology used to produce a social security pension system's balance sheet is mainly determined by the system's financing approach. In this article, it is shown using the example of the Canada Pension Plan that if the assessment of the financial sustainability of a pay‐as‐you‐go or partially funded system is done through the means of an actuarial balance sheet, then the methodology used should take into account future contributions of current and future participants. The balance sheets produced using the open group approach, as well as methodologies used in United States and Sweden, are discussed.
Policy‐makers in advanced welfare states have increasingly expressed concerns over large numbers of working‐age people claiming social security support. Accordingly, policies aimed at reducing the level of “benefit dependency” have gained prominence. However, such policies rest on shaky empirical evidence. Systematic collections of national “caseload” data are rare, social security programmes overlap and administrative categories vary over time. The internationally inconsistent treatment of national transfer programmes provides a further challenge for cross‐national comparisons. This article first identifies and discusses several of these problems, and ways in which they may be addressed. It then employs administrative claimant data from six European countries as a way of illustrating trends over time and across countries. The underlying aim is to explore the scientific potential of benefit recipient numbers as an indicator for welfare state change over time and across countries.
The Mbao Pension Plan is a voluntary individual account savings plan to which all workers in Kenya may contribute without regard to income or age. It is designed to provide a programme that is suitable for the unique nature of the informal sector and to encourage a savings culture for those workers. The key innovation is that low‐income workers can easily make small contributions at relatively low cost, considering the small contributions and small account balances. Participants can conveniently make contributions anytime and anywhere using their cell phones. This savings innovation is made possible by technological innovations that have reduced the costs of cell phones and airtime, and by the entrepreneurial innovation of mobile money. The plan is provided through private‐sector businesses.
In the absence of a bilateral agreement for the portability and totalization of social security contributions between the United States and Mexico, this article examines the access to pension and health insurance benefits and employment status of older Mexican return migrants. We find that return migrants who have spent less than a year in the United States have a similar level of access to social security benefits as non‐migrants. Return migrants who have spent at least a year in the United States are less likely to have public health insurance or social security benefits, and could be more vulnerable to poverty in old age. These results inform the debate on a bilateral social security agreement between the United States and Mexico to improve return migrants' social security.
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