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Public pension programs in Southeast Asia: An assessment

Asher, M. and Bali, A.S. (2015) Public pension programs in Southeast Asia: An assessment. Asian Economic Policy Review, 10 (2). pp. 225-245.

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This paper assesses public pension programs in select Southeast Asian economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – henceforth referred to as the SEA6) and the key issues facing them. The criteria used in assessing pension systems are the philosophy of pension design, the extent of coverage, investment policies and performance, and administrative and compliance costs. The paper argues that three broad reform directions to strengthen public pensions merit consideration. The first direction is to enhance the professionalism of the existing provident and pension fund organizations, including their governance practices. The second direction is to strengthen the role of noncontributory budget-financed pensions (e.g. social pensions). The third is to adopt a systemic perspective to pension reform that includes reforms in complementary areas (labor markets, public financial management practices, and the civil service); developing a financing-mix of pensions; and lastly, improving effective coverage by exploring complementarities between health care and pension programs.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2015 Japan Center for Economic Research
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