Events
Employment, Demographic Change, and Well-Being: Avoiding Poverty among the Elderly in Aging Populations
November 17, 2014Inclusion and Shared Prosperity

Across the middle-income countries of the developing world, policy makers are keenly aware that increased longevity and aging populations will place significant and growing burdens on working age adults in the near future.

Across the middle-income countries of the developing world, policy makers are keenly aware that increased longevity and aging populations will place significant and growing burdens on working age adults in the near future. Informal sector workers face a particularly daunting challenge: they frequently lack the ability to “retire” and must work into old age, and then rely on family support when no longer able to work. The challenge is exacerbated by increases in migration of younger family members to urban areas—raising concerns over whether private support for current and future elderly will be sufficient to protect against poverty in old age.

With concern over the well-being of the current and future elderly, extension of social pensions or government-subsidized pensions figures prominently on social protection policy agendas. Although most newly envisioned pensions for the informal sector are relatively modest, perceptions of fairness dictate that eligibility ages match those of more generous pensions received by retirees from the civil service or formal sector. These retirement ages tend to be low. Little is known as to whether receipt of modest social pensions will disincentivize work, or the extent to which they may crowd out traditional sources of support from family members.

In this talk, John will first briefly review microeconomic evidence on factors influencing employment at older ages, with attention to evidence from the ECA and EAP regions. In addition to age of pension eligibility, other factors, including health status, provision of traditional family support, and spousal preferences for joint-retirement suggest other levers that policymakers may use to create incentives for delayed retirement. Next John will examine the sources of financial support for the elderly, with a focus on the determinants of private financial transfers received by elderly households. Finally, he will present results from new research examining the effects of China’s New Rural Pension Program on labor supply, poverty reduction, and private transfers (among other outcomes).

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    John Giles, Senior Economist, Human Development and Public Services Team, Research Department

    John Giles, Senior Economist, Human Development and Public Services Team, Research Department. His research interests include the movement of labor from agricultural to non-agricultural employment, internal migration, poverty traps, household risk-coping and risk-management behavior, long-term effects of shocks to employment, school-to-work transitions, and population aging and retirement decisions and women's labor supply decisions in developing countries.
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    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Director of Research

    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is the Director of Research in the World Bank. After joining the Bank in 1989 as a Young Economist, she has held different positions, including Director of Development Policy, Chief Economist of Financial and Private Sector Development Network, and Senior Research Manager, doing research and advising on financial sector and private sector development issues.
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    Xiaoqing Yu, Director, Social Protection and Labor Global Practice, World Bank

    Xiaoqing Yu is the Director of the Social Protection and Labor Global Practice in the World Bank, overseeing the Bank’s activities in the areas of social safety net, social insurance and labor market. Working closely with the Senior Director and the Practice management team, Xiaoqing is responsible for the planning and delivery of the Bank’s operational and knowledge support to client countries, as well as for the overall practice management. Prior to assuming this position in July 2014, Xiaoqing was the Human Development Sector Director for the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) Region, overseeing Bank’s program in education, health, and social protection and labor. She was also the Sector Leader for the Bank’s Human Development program for China and Mongolia for four years. Xiaoqing started her career in the World Bank in 1996 as a Young Professional. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Peking University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University.
  • The Policy Research Talks showcase the latest findings of the research department and their implications for World Bank operations. The goal of the monthly event is to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and operational staff, so that we can challenge and contribute to the World Bank's intellectual climate and re-examine conventional wisdom in current development theories and practices.
POLICY RESEARCH TALK