Public Pension Programs in Southeast Asia: An Assessment

21 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2015

See all articles by Mukul G. Asher

Mukul G. Asher

National University of Singapore - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Azad Singh Bali

National University of Singapore - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Date Written: July 2015

Abstract

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.

Keywords: pension reform, public pensions, retirement income policy, social protection, social security, Southeast Asia

JEL Classification: H55, H75, J26

Suggested Citation

Asher, Mukul G. and Bali, Azad Singh, Public Pension Programs in Southeast Asia: An Assessment (July 2015). Asian Economic Policy Review, Vol. 10, Issue 2, pp. 225-245, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2626187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/aepr.12100

Mukul G. Asher (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore
(65) 6778 1020 (Fax)

Azad Singh Bali

National University of Singapore - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

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