The pension systems of Arab countries in the light of socio-economic risks

József Kárpáti
Technical Senior Advisor, Central Statistical Office, PhD student, University of Szeged
Published in: Public Finance Quarterly 2011/2 (p. 179-192.)

SUMMARY: The pension systems of Middle Eastern and the North African Arab Countries are facing several threats that will not only endanger their old-age benefit schemes in the foreseeable future, but will also deepen social conflicts. This article examines four groups of factors that reinforce one another’s possible impacts. Among social factors it is important to emphasize the special, underprivileged position of women, and the traditional multi-generation family model, which is insufficient to resolve the issue of caring for the elderly. The next group is demographic phenomena. These processes are going to translate into considerable burdens for the next generation – as a result of the changes occurring in terms of other accompanying processes – of these societies, whose composition is very young compared to European societies. The third group of factors includes general economic factors, such as high unemployment rates, low economic activity, and the size of the grey and black economies in these societies. As an implicit problem, there are many apparent internal shortcomings in the management of the existing pension systems. Problems such as low coverage, the lack of social solidarity-based pension schemes, covering a broader social basis, and incorrect parameter regulations are present in these systems. The analysed factors paint a gloomy picture about the long term processes, which are worth examining in more detail in Europe, in as much as general conclusions can be drawn that can later be applied to European pension systems.

KEYWORDS: Pay as You Go, public pensions, social security, population, fertility, labour market


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