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Means Tested Public Pensions: Designs and Impacts for an Ageing Demographic

Elderly couple researching pension options online

George Kudrna and John Piggott

Abstract: This paper argues for retirement policy formulation and reforms to re-orient towards greater reliance on non-contributory means tested pensions as a primary retirement income delivery structure. These pensions will become more relevant as the number of contingent workers increases in the global north; and have the potential to reach informal workers in emerging economies who have exhausted their earnings capacity. We show that this kind of pension structure can be efficient, equitable and sustainable. If properly designed, it is especially well-suited to an ageing demographic. We briefly discuss the Australian model as an example of how well this can work.


Keywords: Pensions, retirement policy, labour market, population ageing

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