Working papers


  1. Evidence on gender inequities in social health protection. The case of women living in rural areas

    28 February 2012

    This document examines issues concerning inequalities in health for rural women: the differences in utilization of health care between men and women, and between women living in rural and urban areas; the barriers to utilization of health services for women in rural areas, and the systemic weaknesses for rural women. It presents recommendations on how to address issues in access to health care for rural women.

  2. Paid sick leave: Incidence, patterns and expenditure in times of crisis

    24 January 2012

    This document provides some insights into the concepts, patterns and expenditure of paid sick leave in countries throughout the world. Further, it is argued that providing for sick leave and related income replacement is a key component of decent work in times of crises and beyond and should be considered within national social protection floors.

  3. The concept of fiscal space and its applicability to the development of social protection policy in Zambia

    24 January 2012

    This paper analyses the implementation of a social protection package in Zambia. It introduces the concept of creating fiscal space to finance social protection. Fiscal space has to do with the financing from government revenues of policies conducive to the development of a country. The term may be seen both in its narrower definition as a redefinition of the fiscal rules to which sensible fiscal policy has always been subject, or in broader terms as a full-blown set of policy actions for development.

  4. Social protection and minimum wages responses to the 2008 financial and economic crisis: Findings from the ILO/World Bank Inventory

    01 January 2012

    Employment Working Paper No. 113


  1. Non-contributory pensions in Brazil: Their impact on poverty reduction

    06 November 2009

    Despite labour market informality, Brazil has reached a remarkable benefit coverage among the elderly over the last decades. This coverage extension is, to a large extent, due to two basic pension programmes financed by tax revenues and some social security contributions. The rural scheme, with nearly seven million beneficiaries, comprises old-age, widow and invalidity pensions, as well as maternity and labour accident benefits, all equivalent to the official minimum wage level. People are entitled to their benefits, if they belong to the rural family economy and if they can document length-of-service in agriculture, fisheries, or similar activity instead of length-ofcontribution, thus breaking away from the Bismarckian contributive link.

  2. Namibia's Universal Pension Scheme: Trends and challenges

    06 November 2009

    Namibia faces a number of challenges in reforming and providing for a comprehensive, affordable and sustainable pension system. At present, only about 6 per cent of the population is over 60. The World Bank estimates that this ratio is expected to grow to about 21 per cent over the next few decades. Consequently, the old-age dependency ratio is expected to rise from about 11 to 36 per cent. Existing pension arrangements are not well suited to meet the challenges of an ageing population. The Government is currently addressing these challenges by considering a process of policy formulation, which would take into account the full range of social protection needs, and balances those needs against national resources. Their aim is to create a balance in national policy, between public and social security schemes and individual and private provision, which ensures widespread coverage and achieves the desired level of income redistribution. In future, the main focus of the Namibian Government with regard to social pensions will be on redistribution.

  3. Labour markets and social security coverage. The Latin American experience.

    06 November 2009

    Since coverage for social security in Latin America has typically been closely linked to formal sector employment, it has excluded the self-employed and those employed in irregular and temporary work. This paper looks at the extent to which social security reforms have been able to encourage and sustain a higher and wider level of coverage and takes the view that in this regard, little has been changed by the reforms. The paper concludes that the expansion of coverage is governed by the structure of the labour market and by the scope for redistribution based on the social and political characteristics of the state.

  4. Gender equality and the extension of social protecion

    06 November 2009

    Gender is rarely used as a differentiating lens by which to understand more fully the various experiences and ramifications of the social protection agenda. This paper takes as its starting point the overwhelming evidence that women occupy a disadvantaged status in relation to work opportunities when compared to men from equivalent social groups, and that they are also far more likely to be excluded from the sphere of social protection strategies.

  5. Extending social security: Challenges for Cape Verde

    06 November 2009

    Cape Verde gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Initially, it was governed as a one-party state and the economy was largely controlled by the public sector. Social policy followed the welfare state model and in spite of limited natural resources a comprehensive range of social benefits was provided by the State. In 1991, the country underwent radical political change in response to an economic recession. The first multi-party elections were held and economic reform followed political change. The private sector tripled in size so that by 1997 there were over 6,000 private enterprises employing 30,000 workers.

  6. Extending social security. Policies for developing countries

    06 November 2009

    This paper reviews the main trends and policy issues with regard to the extension of social security in developing countries. It begins by defining the concept of social security, and it examines its linkages with the development process and its impact on poverty reduction. It then reviews the four main social security programmes, i.e. health insurance, pensions, unemployment protection and tax-based social benefits. It shows that in many middle-income countries, statutory social insurance can form the basis for the extension process.

  7. Extending social security coverage in Africa

    06 November 2009

    This paper traces the development of social security in the continent and the links with colonial systems and concepts. It also identifies the elements which influence the development of social security and it highlights some country experiences which illustrate some level of success.

  8. Extending health protection in Tanzania. Networking between health financing mechanisms.

    06 November 2009

  9. Extending health insurance in Senegal: options for statutory schemes and mutual organisations

    06 November 2009

    Social security in Senegal covers less than 20 per cent of the population in terms of both personal and derived rights. The list of persons excluded also includes temporary workers and day labourers as well as workers in the informal sector. Furthermore, it has transpired from studies conducted that the absence of protection is caused by problems of equity between protected workers and those who are not protected, which are related to the yield management strategies of undertakings related to international competition. A consequent challenge is that of finding relevant solutions that are balanced and that take account of the interests of all of the parties involved in labour relations.

  10. Anti-poverty programmes in Costa Rica. The non-contributory pension scheme

    06 November 2009

    This study provides an overview of the main problems facing the Costa Rican Government's poverty reduction programmes, with particular emphasis on the management of resources. In particular, it provides a detailed analysis of a specific programme, the Non-Contributory Scheme for Basic Pensions –also known as the Non-Contributory Pension Scheme–(the NCP Scheme, the Programme) which is administered by the Social Insurance Fund of Costa Rica (CCSS).

  11. Achieving health insurance for all. Lessons from the Republic of Korea

    06 November 2009

    Republic of Korea [Kwon, 2002] which has gradually extended compulsory health insurance to all workers over a period of 12 years (from 1977 to 1989): wage earners of large corporations with more than 500 workers were first to be covered, government employees and teachers came next, followed gradually by workers in increasingly small enterprises. Extension to the self-employed began through pilot programmes before being generalized.


  1. Performance indicators of statutory social insurance schemes (draft)

    01 January 2008

  2. Vietnam: Social Health Insurance: Current issues and policy recommandations

    01 January 2008

    This paper aims to provide an overview of the social health insurance scheme in Vietnam, including its historical development and progress, the challenges faced by the scheme and some suggested policy recommendations. Indeed, Vietnam¿s health sector has made remarkable achievements offering a widespread health care delivery network, an increasing number of qualified workers, an expanding national public health programme, etc. In 2006, the total number of people covered reached 30.5 million (about 37% of the population), of whom 11.2 million were poor people. However, at the same time, the sector also has to urgently deal with administrative and financial challenges. This implies addressing issues of labour mobility, widening inequalities, an increase in poverty and the impact of the predicted ageing population trend as well as coping with the necessity to cover workers of the private sector and workers of rural areas, the latter representing 70% of the population. Moreover, currently, most health sector spending is based on government budget and on user fees and so an important task is to reform current payment mechanisms. Besides which, the health system needs to be integrated into comprehensive social and economic policies and strategies.

  3. Vietnam:Development of income security

    01 January 2008

  4. Thailand: Universal health care coverage trough pluralistic approaches

    01 January 2008

    The document presents the pluralistic approaches that were experimented in Thailand in order to reach universal health care coverage. The Thai health care system has a long history, from a fee with exemption system which was gradually replaced by out-of-pocket payment before finally becoming a prepayment system. This is an entrepreneurial system, with both public and private providers, that has progressed thanks to long term plans, continuous efforts and strong commitment to policy. Finally it has been successful in providing health care coverage using pluralistic approaches and health is now considered as an entitlement for Thai people. However, the Thai government still has to face challenges in terms of efficiency, quality and equity. Indeed, the country will have to deal with the problem of ageing populations and redress the unequal distribution of medical staff within the country between Bangkok and the provinces, among other issues.

  5. Lao PDR: Social Security

    01 January 2008