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Development Centre

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Civil service pension reform in developing countries

Experiences and lessons

This study examines reforms to civil service pension arrangements in a number of developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. These arrangements are a significant component of public-sector remuneration in many developing countries and they can carry substantial risks, not only financial but also political and social. This study takes a long-term and systemic approach to civil service pensions, charting their evolution as part of a country’s social protection provision and with reference to public-sector remuneration as well as broader institutional developments. It demonstrates the short- and long-term costs of these arrangements against spending on other social protection interventions, notably poverty-targeted social assistance. Through a series of case studies, it examines the motivation behind countries’ decision to reform their civil service schemes, as well as the challenges they faced when undertaking these reforms and their overall impact. The study is intended to support countries planning to reform their civil service pension schemes by identifying key principles and specific policies they might consider in this process; it can also support governments not planning such reforms to better understand the financial dynamics of their civil service schemes.

Available from November 27, 2020