Pensions at a Glance Asia/Pacific 2018

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Many of Asia’s retirement-income systems are ill prepared for the rapid population ageing that will occur over the next two decades. The demographic transition – to fewer babies and longer lives – took a century in Europe and North America. In Asia, this transition will often occur in a single generation. Asia’s pension systems need modernising urgently to ensure that they are financially sustainable and provide adequate retirement incomes. This report examines the retirement-income systems of 18 countries in the region. The report provides new data for comparing pension systems of different countries. It combines the OECD’s expertise in modelling pension entitlements with a network of national pension experts who provided detailed information at the country level, verified key results and provided feedback and input to improve the analysis.


Executive Summary

The biggest challenges facing pension systems in non-OECD Asian economies are rapid population ageing and low coverage, both for those receiving benefits and those contributing to the pension systems. Efforts to close the coverage gap by expanding eligibility to larger shares of the labour force or through non-contributory pensions are at the heart of most discussions. Increasing life expectancy will jeopardise financial sustainability as people live longer in retirement and the number of pensioners relative to contributors grows. However, as in other regions, pension reform is politically challenging as is often entails unpopular measures, such as increasing the retirement age, lowering benefits or increasing contribution rates.


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