This book makes an important contribution to the social protection literature by focusing on recent pension policy developments in a number of developing and transition countries. It is the latest in a series of books sponsored by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) dealing with diverse aspects of social policy in the developing world. Following a useful introduction by Katja Hujo, the editor, the book contains a series of country case studies of pension reform initiatives which range broadly and eclectically over different nations and types of statutory programmes. These case studies are grouped into three categories, namely those dealing with the political economy of pension reform, those that focus on the BRICS countries and finally a section which examines the resurgence of state involvement in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. The book concludes with a short chapter by the editor which seeks to draw the material together.
Despite its eclectic nature and high price, the book is a valuable reference resource which will be appreciated by researchers trying to keep up with the rapidly changing world of pension policy, especially in the Global South. In addition, the editor and various chapter authors address themes that are of great importance. Some of these are explicated by the editor in the introduction and conclusion of the book and are reiterated by several of the chapter authors. They include discussions of how best to fund pensions in aging populations, how to extend coverage and ensure equity particularly with reference to gender and how to design pension policies that contribute to economic development while at the same time enhance the wellbeing of elders. The book shows there are no easy answers to the complex issues of pension policy but it paves the way for more systematic analyses in the future. Combined with its compendious descriptive content, its analytical discussion of these issues comprises a valuable resource that should be widely consulted by anyone interested in pensions– and more generally in issues of social protection today.
By James Midgley, University of California, Berkeley in the Journal of Social Policy, October 2015, pp 826 - 828.
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© Cambridge University Press 2015