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Reforming Pensions: tales from China, Chile and elsewhere

China is reforming its pension system one way, Chile another. What lessons can be drawn from comparable pensions provision?

Professor Nicholas Barr will give a public lecture at LSE on Thursday 1 February entitled 'Reforming Pensions: tales from China, Chile and elsewhere'.

A professor of public economics at LSE, Professor Barr was a member of a group, with Peter Diamond, Nobel Laureate James Mirrlees, and Nicholas Stern, which advised the Chinese government on pension reform; and he also advised on the current reforms in Chile.

He said: 'Discussion of the economics of pensions is often unnecessarily complicated because it concentrates on finance. What matters is national output and its division between workers and pensioners.

'China's pension system - inherited from an era of central planning - faces problems that echo systems in Central and Eastern Europe. The challenge is to devise a system that will provide old age security to workers in both the state and the new private sector in a country with rapid population ageing and where financial markets are still developing.

'Chile, meanwhile, privatised much of its pension system in 1981 - a model that has been widely publicised by the World Bank and others. Its system is problematical in a number of ways, notably its limited ability to relieve elderly poverty. The new government in Chile has reached a similar conclusion, hence a core element in its reforms is stronger poverty relief.'

Howard Davies, director of LSE, will chair this Clifford Barclay Memorial Lecture, which is hosted by LSE in conjunction with the Islamic Finance Project of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School.

Reforming Pensions: tales from China, Chile and elsewhere is on Thursday 1 February 2007 at 6.30-8pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE, Aldwych, WC2A. This public lecture is free and open to all with no ticket required.

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To reserve a press seat, please contact Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or email j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk| 

23 January 2007

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