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Book Review—Reforming pensions in developing and transition countries

1 Jul 2016

Pensions and pension reforms have been the subject of heated debates around the world over at least
the last two decades. It is not easy, however, to present in one book a consistent picture of these
debates in different countries. This is because national pension systems differ substantially, different
systems face quite distinct challenges, and thus reforms needed in each context are also quite varied.
“Model” pension systems cannot simply be imported or copied from one country to another. Attempts at
such imports or copying always lead to results that diverge from those expected by “copycat”
reformers. For example, Nigeria recently introduced a “Chilean” pension system, but the post-reform
Nigerian pension system undoubtedly shares little in common with its Chilean counterpart.


The UNRISD volume focuses only on countries labelled “developing” and “transition”, but many of
its conclusions are certainly valid globally. It is a collection of case studies which deal with a very broad
range of pension schemes, issues and countries – from privatization (and in some countries, recent
reversals of privatization) of social security in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America, to
creating or strengthening the zero-tier of the pension system in the form of non-contributory basic
pensions in Chile and Bolivia, to reforms to schemes for specific population groups, like civil servants.

By Krzysztof Hagemejer

Click here to access the book review article and here for the content of this book.

© International Social Security Review, 2016