Basic Old‐Age Protection in Latin America
Noncontributory Pensions, Coverage Expansion Strategies, and Aging Patterns across Countries
Historically, Latin American pension systems were designed following a social insurance model geared toward offering pension benefits to formal-sector workers.
From 1981, and especially over the 1990s, several countries implemented structural pension reforms to introduce privately administered individual accounts that more closely linked individual benefits to past contributions (Mesa-Lago 2004). By design, these systems excluded the redistribution of pension resources among workers and pensioners, promoting individual savings instead.
In several countries, the contribution records required to receive a minimum pension from the social security system left ineligible most informal-sector workers, as well as agricultural-sector workers and unpaid family workers. As a result, the reformed pension systems suffered from persistently low levels of coverage, and a large share of older adults had no access to a pension.