BRICS

ISSR articles

BRICS

ISSR articles

The International Social Security Review is the leading international journal on social security, and ISSA members have free online access. Below is a selection of articles relevant to the BRICS countries.

 

Social pensions and policy learning: The case of southern Africa

Authors:
Bernard H. Casey
Roddy McKinnon

Issue:
Volume 62 (2009), Issue 4

In the last decade and particularly since the publication of the Millennium Development Goals, social pensions have captured the interest of those concerned with the well‐being of older people across that large part of the world where formal, contributions‐financed, old‐age benefit systems cover only a minority of the population. International organizations have turned their attention to such schemes and some see them as having a valuable role to play. However, information about what they are and how they work, and about their efficacy in meeting the objectives set for them, is still limited. Learning has been taking place not only in the international organizations but also in the region where they are most prominent – southern Africa. Such learning should be encouraged and the International Social Security Association has a part to play in this learning process.

Topics:
Old age - Pensions
Social policies & programmes
Keywords:
social security reform
social security financing
social security administration
poverty
Regions:
Developing countries

Economic security arrangements in the context of population ageing in India

Authors:
David E. Bloom
Ajay Mahal
Larry Rosenberg
Jaypee Sevilla

Issue:
Volume 63 (2010), Issue 3-4

The rapid ageing of India's population, in conjunction with migration out of rural areas and the continued concentration of the working population in the informal sector, has highlighted the need for better economic security arrangements for the elderly. Traditional family ties that have been key to ensuring a modicum of such security are beginning to fray, and increased longevity is making care of the elderly more expensive. As a result, the elderly are at increased risk of being poor or falling into poverty. In parallel with its efforts to address this issue, the Government of India and some of the Indian states have initiated an array of programmes for providing some level of access to health care or health insurance to the great majority of Indians who lack sufficient access. Formal-sector workers have greater social security than those in the informal sector, but they only represent a small share of the workforce. Women are particularly vulnerable to economic insecurity. India's experience offers some lessons for other countries. Although there is space for private initiatives in the social security arena, it is clear that most such efforts will need to be tax-financed. The role that private providers can play is substantial, even when most funding comes from public sources, but such activity will face greater challenges as more individuals seek benefits. India has also shown that implementation can often be carried out well by states using central government funds, with a set of advantages and disadvantages that such decentralization brings. Finally, India's experience with implementation can offer guidance on issues such as targeting, the use of information technology in social security systems, and human resource management.

Topics:
Old age - Pensions
Extension of coverage
Keywords:
old age risk
old‐age benefit
medical care
social security administration
demographic aspect
Countries:
India

The Russian Federation: Confronting the special challenges of ageing and social security policy in an era of demographic crisis

Authors:
Nicholas Eberstadt
Hans Groth

Issue:
Volume 63 (2010), Issue 3-4

This article focuses on the Russian Federation's demographic crisis and the implications it holds for the ability of the Russian government (or the Russian people through their own efforts) to generate enough funds to provide a reasonable level of old‐age economic security. Although Russia's overall population profile structure stands to be broadly similar to that of other more‐developed societies, both today and in coming decades, the challenges of providing for an ageing population are far more acute for Russia than for typical Member States of the Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development. One factor that adds significantly to the problem is that working‐age Russians today suffer substantially worse health and higher mortality than residents of other countries at similar — and indeed even at much lower — levels of income. Although the arguments presented focus on pensions, the same factors that will make it difficult to supply adequate pensions also mean that other aspects of social protection will be similarly difficult to fulfil. Successful social security policy for Russia, consequently, will depend upon much more than social programmes alone: it will require the reduction of mortality rates for working‐age individuals, the revitalization of higher education, and fundamental reform of the country's institutions and economic policies.

Topics:
Old age - Pensions
Demographic change
Social policies & programmes
Keywords:
demographic aspect
old age risk
health status
social policy
Countries:
Russian Federation

Micro‐pensions in India: Issues and challenges

Authors:
Savita Shankar
Mukul G. Asher

Issue:
Volume 64 (2011), Issue 2

This article aims to fill a gap in the social security literature on India by examining the role of micro‐pensions. The analysis suggests that because of the heterogeneity of the target population, micro‐pension products — with microfinance institutions (MFIs) as the main, but not only sponsors — should be voluntary and portable and permit experimentation in their design and in the delivery of services. Accordingly, decentralized micro‐pension schemes that operate within an appropriate regulatory framework and according to sound governance practices are deemed more fitting for the Indian context than centralized schemes with limited flexibility. The article discusses two case studies of recently‐initiated micro‐pension schemes in India, which reveal the need for rigorous analytical research on the micro‐pension sector, particularly concerning the structuring of pay‐out options and innovative delivery mechanisms. The article concludes that micro‐pensions have the potential to be one of the most useful components in India's multi‐tiered social security system, and should be encouraged.

Topics:
Old age - Pensions
Extension of coverage
Keywords:
pension scheme
method of financing
collection of contributions
payment of benefits
Countries:
India

Social protection and preventing illness in developing countries: Establishing the health effects of pensions and health insurance

Authors:
Peter Lloyd‐Sherlock
Nadia Minicuci
John Beard
Somnath Chatterji

Issue:
Volume 65 (2012), Issue 4

This article assesses the effectiveness of pension provision and health insurance in preventing ill health among older people in developing countries. It argues that, until recently, social protection agendas devoted insufficient attention to health risk prevention, instead focusing on the reduction of income poverty through cash transfers. The article shows that there is little reliable evidence to indicate that providing older people with pension benefits enhances their health status and that these effects should not be taken for granted by policy‐makers. The article then focuses on the effect of inclusion in health insurance schemes on health outcomes for older people, with specific reference to outcomes related to hypertension. Drawing on newly‐available data from the World Health Organization for Ghana, Mexico and South Africa, it shows that older people with health insurance are marginally more likely to be aware of health conditions such as hypertension and more likely to have them under control. Nevertheless, the great majority of hypertensive older people, insured or uninsured, are not effectively treated. The chief barriers to treatment are shown to be mainly related to awareness and service provision, rather than financial ones. Consequently, the capacity of pensions or health insurance to enhance health outcomes for older people in such countries, including in rural areas, is heavily contingent upon health education, health screening and adequate health service provision. These interventions should be viewed as an integral element of mainstream social protection strategies, rather than adjuncts to them. Yet, in practice, social protection and health promotion continue to be treated as almost entirely separate spheres, thus presenting substantial institutional barriers to developing combined interventions.

Topics:
Health
Old age - Pensions
Keywords:
old age risk
risk of sickness and promotion of health
health status
preventive medicine
relationship between social security branches
social protection
Regions:
Developing countries

The health care system of the People's Republic of China: Between privatization and public health care

Authors:
Dongmei Liu
Barbara Darimont

Issue:
Volume 66 (2013), Issue 1

Chinese health care policy has undergone numerous reforms in recent years that have often led to new challenges, inciting the need for further reform. The most recent reforms attempt to find a middle path between public health care provision and commercial private insurance. In this way, China is following in the footsteps of countries that initially increased the role of privatization in the 1990s and at the beginning of the 21st century, but are now gearing towards public health care. However, this process of constant reform has led to a lack of transparency in the functioning of the health care system, provoking a loss in public trust. There remains an important degree of uncertainty about the future direction of developments in China. Nonetheless, a dual financing approach to health care using tax finance and social insurance might yet crystallize, offering a potential model to inform developments in other countries.

Topics:
Health
Social policies & programmes
Keywords:
health insurance
access to care
quality of care
consumption of health care
Countries:
China

How fair are unemployment benefits? The experience of East Asia

Authors:
Gyu-Jin Hwang

Issue:
Volume 72 (2019), Issue 2

Despite an increasing emphasis on active labour market measures, unemployment benefits still remain a focal point of employment protection. This article takes the cases of four East Asian economies – China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China) –, which are often characterized as having welfare states with a strong developmental and productivist orientation, to investigate whether, as is sometimes argued, unemployment benefits are restrictive and exclusionary. In doing so, it examines the logic behind the design of unemployment benefits and argues that they are in fact progressive in design and fair when they pay out. Nonetheless, low effective coverage and low benefit rates weaken their redistribution and compensation objectives.

Topics:
Employment
Keywords:
unemployment benefit
Regions:
East Asia
Countries:
China
Japan
Korea, Republic of
Taiwan, China

The rights-based approach to care policies: Latin American experience

Authors:
Valeria Esquivel

Issue:
Volume 70 (2017), Issue 4

Care policies are high on the public policy agenda in Latin America. This is partly explained by the region’s structural conditions, typical of middle-income countries, such as increasing life expectancy and women’s relatively high participation in the labour market, but also by the politicization of care, derived from the recognition that the unequal distribution of care provision is a powerful driver of gender and income inequalities. Women’s movements have positioned care policies high on their own agendas and, with varying degrees, States have progressed in the implementation of care policies, supported by a strong gender-equality agenda which is framed within a rights-based approach to social protection. This article presents the Uruguayan and Costa Rican “care systems” as examples of Latin America’s rights-based approach to care policies. It succinctly explains their political and institutional evolution, and presents the main features of their legal frameworks. It pays particular attention to the actors that have mobilized to support and, eventually, shape them. It also identifies the dimensions that are singled out by other countries in the process of replicating and adapting these examples to build their own “care systems” following a rights-based approach to care policies. The article closes with a focus on implementation challenges.

Topics:
Health
Social policies & programmes
Keywords:
care work
care worker
social policy
gender
Regions:
Latin America
Countries:
Costa Rica
Uruguay

The politics of rights-based, transformative social policy in South and Southeast Asia

Authors:
Gabriele Koehler

Issue:
Volume 70 (2017), Issue 4

A key normative principle of transformative social policy is that it is rights-based. This implies that it be universal, as a right extended categorically to all persons in a defined situation, or to all citizens, or, in its most radical form, as applicable to all residents regardless of citizenship status. To be transformative, social policy also needs to tackle the root causes of inequalities and social injustices. In the recent past, approaches emerged in a number of countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia that pointed in the direction of universal, rights-based social policy. These suggest that a “social turn” took place – a shift to ideas and policies that prioritize social issues. In the cases under review (India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand), the trends towards a universal, rights-based approach to social services and social transfers were in each case politically driven and a result of changes in government – the social turns were the outcome of contestation. At present, these countries are experiencing political backlashes, with democratic processes and civil society under severe attack. This article seeks to make two points. First, a rights-based, transformative policy approach and a social turn do not come automatically: it is always the result of contestation, be it from the electorate and their interests groups, or from competition between political parties. Second, acquired rights and moves towards transformation can be dismantled. In the current global political rollback, there is a need to defend and fight for transformative and rights-based social policy.

Topics:
Social policies & programmes
Keywords:
social policy
social change
political aspect
legal aspect
Countries:
India
Myanmar
Pakistan
Thailand

Does trust increase willingness to pay higher taxes to help the needy?

Authors:
Alena Auchynnikava
Alex Cheung
Nazim Habibov

Issue:
Volume 70 (2017), Issue 3

The article studies the causal effect of trust on the willingness to pay higher taxes to help the needy in a sample of 29 countries of Eastern and Southern Europe, and the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. It is hypothesized that interpersonal trust leads to a greater willingness to pay taxes to help the needy since (i) trust increases the likelihood of helping strangers; (ii) trust fosters solidarity and cooperation when working to solve common problems in society; and (iii) trust reduces suspicion with respect to the perceived misuse of redistributed money. Three key findings are that the more people trust each other, the more they are ready to support the welfare state; the effect of trust on welfare state support holds even in a contextual environment characterized by rather lower levels of trust and relatively underdeveloped systems of redistribution; and higher individual-level trust fosters tax morale and helps deter tax evasion.

Keywords:
social capital
social security planning
welfare state
social solidarity
public opinion
Regions:
Commonwealth of Independant States
Europe
Eastern Europe
Countries:
Mongolia