Latin America and Caribbean
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Social security, Social protection, Population aging, Poverty
Latin America and Caribbean
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Last updated February 1, 2023
Rafael Rofman is the World Bank Program Leader for Education, Health, Social Protection and Labor, and Poverty, covering Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. He has worked on social protection and pension policy in many Latin America countries, as well as in other regions of the world. He graduated as an Economist from the University of Buenos Aires and went on to receive a MA on Social Demography from the University of Lujan and a PhD in Demography from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the World Bank, he held positions in Argentina, both in academic institutions and government agencies, including Head of the Research Unit at the Supervision of Pension Funds and advisor to the Minister of Economy and to the Secretary of Social Security. He is author of many studies on adult mortality, social security and pension reform, including a recently published book on expanding old age income protection coverage in fourteen Latin American countries. He has been university professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Torcuato Di Tella University, and the University of Lujan, among others.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Rofman, Rafael ; Oliveri, Maria LauraThis document presents an analysis of pension coverage trends in Latin America for the past decades. Its preparation involved the collection, revision, and processing of household surveys in over 18 countries in the region, spanning a period of almost 40 years in some cases. The main goal of this document is to offer comparable data on pension coverage among the economically active population and the elderly, considering the relevance of several demographic, social, and economic variables on these coverage levels. By producing this large and comparable regional dataset, the document supports the discussion of several stylized facts on pension coverage in Latin America. The results show that coverage among active workers is low in most countries, although there has been a relative improvement since the early 1990s. The situation is still distressing among workers in the primary sector or employed by small enterprises as well as for women, primarily because of their persistent lower rates of labor market participation. In recent years coverage of some of the most vulnerable groups has increased, but it still presents very low rates. Among the elderly, regional averages have been very stable since the early 1990s, although this average hides important differences among countries.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-07) Rofman, Rafael ; Ringold, DenaAs Argentina approaches its bicentennial as an independent republic, it has a window of opportunity in social protection policy. As growth has returned and social indicators have recovered to pre-2001/2002 crisis levels, there is an opening to move from emergency income support programs to a more comprehensive, long-term and sustainable strategy for social protection. A recent report aims to contribute to the discussion of options for social protection. Specifically, it focuses on non-contributory income support in Argentina through discussion of the current set of programs, their coverage, effectiveness, costs and sustainability. It looks at the potential impact of the government's new social protection programs - Seguro de Capacitacion y Empleo and Familias - which are in the early stages of being rolled-out and specifically at the institutional set-up for social protection and the potential role of provinces in Argentina's federal system. The report focused on income support in Argentina. The work was carried out between July 2006 and June 2008 by a World Bank team in collaboration with a wide range of partners in Argentina.
Reforming the Pension Reforms : The Recent Initiatives and Actions on Pensions in Argentina and Chile(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-05) Rofman, Rafael ; Fajnzylber, Eduardo ; Herrera, GermanThis paper describes the recent reforms of pension policies adopted by Argentina and Chile. The structural reforms in the 1980s and 90s were targeted on improving the long term fiscal sustainability of the system and their institutional design, while transferring part of the economic and social risks from the State to participants. However, in recent year s authorities in both countries coincided on identifying insufficient coverage among the elderly and adequacy of benefits as the most critical problems. As a result of differences in political economy and institutional constraints, responses were different. In Chile, a long and participatory process resulted in a large reform that focuses on impacts on the medium term, through a carefully calibrated adjustment. In Argentina, instead, reforms were adopted through a large number of successive normative corrections, with little public debate about their implications, and immediate impacts on coverage and fiscal demands.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015) Rofman, Rafael ; Apella, Ignacio ; Vezza, Evelyn ; Rofman, Rafael ; Apella, Ignacio ; Vezza, EvelynLatin America's population is aging, and many among the growing elderly population are not protected by traditional pension schemes. In response, policy makers have been reevaluating their income protection systems so that between 2000 and 2013, the majority of Latin American countries reformed their social pension schemes to provide near-universal coverage for the elderly. Before this unprecedented wave of reform, most income protection in Latin America was provided through contributory pensions available only to formal sector workers. Considering that informal and unpaid employment characterize labor force participation throughout the region, many elderly were left vulnerable to poverty. The new noncontributory pension programs have alleviated this risk. But countries are still evaluating how to best balance the need for inclusivity with the need for fiscal sustainability. This report examines recent reforms in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. All countries share the goal of comprehensive pension coverage, but each has unique political environments, social conditions, and economic capacities. Design and implementation of coverage expansion, consequently, has diverged. Comparing results across the region reveals which policies have yielded the most equitable and sustainable outcomes. Each chapter includes a comprehensive analysis of a country's reform experience: a description of significant political and economic developments, the challenges of implementing income protection policies, and prospects for the reforms' durability over time. This report represents a significant addition to the literature on income protection for the elderly.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04-23) Gragnolati, Michele ; Rofman, Rafael ; Apella, Ignacio ; Troiano, Sara ; Grushka, Carlos ; Comelatto, Pablo ; Maceira, Daniel ; Barbieri, María Eugenia ; Marchionni, Mariana ; Alejo, Javier ; Cetrángolo, Oscar ; Fanelli, José MaríaThe process of demographic transition through which Argentina is passing is a window of both opportunities and challenges in economic and social terms. Argentina is still a young country in which the working-age population represents the largest proportion of its total population. Currently, the country just began a 30-year period with the most advantageous age structure of its population, which could favor greater economic growth. This situation, known as the 'demographic window of opportunity,' will last until the beginning of the 2040s. The dynamics of the fertility and mortality rates signify a gradual ageing of the population, with implications for various dimensions of the economy, the social protection system, public policies, and society in general. This book studies the opportunities and challenges that the demographic transition poses for the Argentine economy, its most important social sectors like the healthcare, education, and social protection systems, and the potential fiscal trade-offs that must be dealt with. The study shows that even though Argentina is moving through its demographic transition, it just recently began to enjoy the window of opportunity and this constitutes a great opportunity to achieve an accumulation of capital and future economic growth. Once the window of opportunity has passed, population ageing will have a significant impact on the level of expenditure, especially spending in the social protection system. This signifies a challenge from a fiscal policy point of view, because if long-term reforms are not undertaken to mediate these effects, the demographic transition will put pressure on the reallocation of fiscal resources among social sectors. Finally, population ageing poses concerns related to sustaining the rate of economic growth with a smaller working-age population. Taking advantage of the current window of opportunities, increasing savings that will finance the accumulation of capital, and increasing future labor force productivity in this way is a challenge for the Argentine economy.
When We're Sixty-Four: Opportunities and Challenges for Public Policies in a Population-Aging Context in Latin America(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-10-02) Rofman, Rafael ; Apella, IgnacioLatin American countries are in the midst of a demographic transition and, as a consequence, a population-aging process. Over the next few decades, the number of children will decline relative to the number of older adults. Population aging is the result of a slow but sustained reduction in mortality rates, given increases in life expectancy and fertility. These trends reflect welcome long-term improvements in welfare and in economic and social development. But this process also entails policy challenges: many public institutions—including education, health, and pension systems and labor market regulations—are designed for a different demographic context and will need to be adapted. When We’re Sixty-Four discusses public policies aimed at overcoming the two main challenges facing Latin American countries concerning the changing demographics. On one hand, older populations demand more fiscal resources for social services, such as health, long-term care, and pensions. On the other, population aging produces shifts in the proportion of the population that is working age, which may affect long-term economic growth. Aging societies risk losing dynamism, being exposed to higher dependency rates, and experiencing lower savings rates. Nonetheless, in the interim, Latin American countries have a demographic opportunity: a temporary decline in dependency rates creates a period in which the share of the working-age population, with its associated saving capacity, is at its highest levels. This constitutes a great opportunity in the short term because the higher savings may result in increases in capital endowment per worker and productivity. For that to happen, it is necessary to generate institutional, financial, and fiscal conditions that promote larger savings and investment, accelerating per capita economic growth in a sustainable way.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2010) Rofman, Rafael ; Fajnzylber, Eduardo ; Herrera, GermanThis article describes the most recent pension reforms in Argentina and Chile. The previous reforms, implemented in the 1980s and 1990s, aimed to improve long-term fiscal sustainability and institutional design of the systems, shifting part of the social and economic risks away from the State and on to participants. In recent years, the authorities in both countries identified the main problems facing current pension systems as inadequate coverage for older adults and the low level of benefits. The two countries have responded differently, however, owing to institutional and political divergences. In Chile, a lengthy participatory process resulted in a wide-ranging reform targeting medium-term effects through carefully calibrated adjustments. In contrast, the reforms in Argentina were made through a succession of corrections, with little public discussion of their implications or effects on coverage and fiscal needs.
Skills and the Labor Market in a New Era: Managing the Impacts of Population Aging and Technological Change in Uruguay(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-02-18) Apella, Ignacio ; Rofman, Rafael ; Rovner, HelenaUruguay faces medium- and long-term challenges associated with two global megatrends: population aging and technological change. These two megatrends have been developing for some time, but policy responses have been late or inadequate in many cases. Trying to delay them--by promoting higher fertility or enforcing restrictions on the adoption of new technologies--would probably be ineffective but also ill-advised, as these trends are generating important opportunities to increase production and welfare. The objective of this book is to identify these opportunities, as well as the challenges that population aging and technological change pose for the Uruguayan economy and to determine how they can be addressed through better-designed public policies, with a focus on the development of new skills that increase workers’ productivity.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016-05-26) Rofman, Rafael ; Amarante, Verónica ; Apella, Ignacio ; Rofman, Rafael ; Amarante, Verónica ; Apella, IgnacioUruguay’s population is slowly aging, driven by the demographic transition that started early in the 20th century. While this reflects significant improvements in mortality and fertility trends, it also creates important challenges for the fiscal sustainability of some social policies and for sustaining medium- and long-term economic growth. Uruguay is going through the “demographic dividend” stage of this process as the proportion of the population ages 15–65 peaks. This temporary situation creates the possibility of increasing the endowment of capital and the labor force and sparking sustained economic growth. For this to happen, institutional, financial, and fiscal conditions are needed that promote larger savings and investment. Demographic Change in Uruguay: Economic Opportunities and Challenges studies the opportunities and challenges that the demographic transition poses for Uruguay’s economy. Once the demographic dividend has passed, population aging will have a significant impact on fiscal accounts, especially in social protection expenditures. This is a serious policy challenge, demanding reforms to adapt the institutions and systems to a new demographic context. The main challenge in the next few decades will be to maintain economic growth on a solid path as the working-age population declines. This will require that labor force participation rates increase, particularly among women and older people, but will also require that those in the labor market increase their productivity. This will be achieved only through sustained growth of the capital per worker ratio and the incorporation of innovations and technological developments that facilitate increased production of goods and services for the entire population.