A role for universal pension? Simulating universal pensions in Ecuador, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa

Publication type:

Research Paper

Series Number:



Maria Jouste and Pia Rattenhuber

Publication date

15 Feb 2018


We use four novel, cross-country comparable tax-benefit microsimulation models for Ecuador, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa to evaluate ex ante the expansion of a universal old age pension in a static setting. Universal pensions would significantly reduce poverty and inequality in settings in which no means-tested old-age pensions exist (such as Ghana and Tanzania). If means-tested old-age pensions exist and shall be maintained, universal pensions as a top-up scheme only make a difference for the income distribution if the existing schemes do not reach the entire vulnerable population, such as in Ecuador. Costs for the proposed schemes are substantial.


Older People, Pensions, Economics, Poverty, Welfare Benefits, Microsimulation, Taxation and Social Policy