Pension coverage in Latin America: Trends and inequalities

Carmelo Mesa-Lago, María Amparo Cruz Saco, Mirian Gil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Using household surveys from 17 Latin American countries over 2009–2018, we analyze contributory pension coverage for the economically active population (EAP) and contributory/non-contributory pension coverage for older persons. Nine countries have “private” and eight have “public” pension systems. Inequalities in gender, income, education, location and firm size affect both coverage of the EAP and the elderly. Rather than being affected by the type of pension system – private or public –, coverage depends on structural features of the labour market and public policy interventions. Our findings confirm current understanding that level of development is directly related with coverage whereas inequality and informality are inversely related with coverage. Based on these results, we recomend policy interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Social Security Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Social Security Association


  • coverage
  • Latin America
  • old-age benefits
  • pension scheme


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