Document Detail

Social Security privatization in Latin America.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11131978     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The new, partially privatized social security system adopted by Chile in 1981 has attracted attention in many parts of the world. Since then, a number of Latin American countries have implemented the Chilean model, with some variations: either with a single- or multi-tier system, or with a period of transition to take care of those in the labor force at the time of the change. The single-tier version consists of a privatized program with individual accounts in pension fund management companies. Multi-tier systems have a privatized component and retain some form of public program. This article describes each of the new programs in Latin America, their background, and similarities and differences among them. Much more information is available for Chile than for the other countries (in part because Chile has the oldest system), enough to be able to evaluate what, in most cases, is the most accurate information. That is often not the case for the other countries, especially when dealing with subjects such as transition costs and net rates of return (rates of return minus administrative fees). No country has copied the Chilean system exactly. Bolivia, El Salvador, and Mexico have closed their public systems and set up mandatory individual accounts. Argentina has a mixed public/private system with three tiers. In Colombia and Peru, workers have a choice between the public and private programs. Uruguay created a two-tier mixed system. Costa Rica has a voluntary program for individual accounts as a supplement to the pay-as-you-go program and has just passed a law setting up mandatory accounts containing employer contributions for severance pay. All of the countries continue to face unresolved issues, including: High rates of noncompliance--the percentage of enrollees who do not actively and regularly contribute to their accounts--which could lead to low benefits and greater costs to the governments that offer a guaranteed minimum benefit; Proportionately lower benefits for women and lower earners than for men and higher earners; A minimum required rate of return among the pension fund management companies (in most of these countries) that has resulted in similarity among the companies and the consequent lack of meaningful choice; and High administrative fees in most of these countries, which reduce the individual's effective rate of return. To what extent these issues can be mitigated or resolved in the future is not yet clear. In general, a definitive assessment of the Chilean model and its Latin American variations will not be possible until a cohort of retirees has spent most of its career under the new system.
B E Kritzer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social security bulletin     Volume:  63     ISSN:  0037-7910     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Secur Bull     Publication Date:  2000  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-12-22     Completed Date:  2001-02-15     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  22030305R     Medline TA:  Soc Secur Bull     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  17-37     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Fees and Charges / statistics & numerical data
Financing, Personal / statistics & numerical data
Latin America
Pensions / statistics & numerical data*
Privatization / economics*,  organization & administration
Retirement / economics*
Social Security / economics,  organization & administration*

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