Ageing and Pension Reform Around the World

Evidence from Eleven Countries

Edited by Giuliano Bonoli and Toshimitsu Shinkawa

This book comprehensively documents developments in pension policy in eleven advanced industrial countries in Western Europe, East Asia and North America. In order to explore what population ageing means for the sustainability of pension systems, the authors present a detailed review of pension policy making over the past two decades and provide up-to-date analysis of current pension legislation. They examine the factors that can facilitate or impede the adaptation of pension systems and the features that shape and determine reforms. They also highlight the fact that although the path of reform taken by each country is somewhat different, the processes at work are often very similar.

Chapter 9: Pension Reform in Taiwan: The Old and the New Politics of Welfare

Chen-Wei Lin

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


Chen-Wei Lin INTRODUCTION Taiwan’s achievement in economic development began to draw scholarly attention in the 1980s. For many observers, the so-called ‘Taiwan Miracle’ (or the East Asian Miracle) was remarkable not only because of its recordbreaking rapid economic development but also the concomitant democratization and equitable growth achieved by the island-nation (World Bank, 1992; Gold, 1986; Fei et al., 1979). The success story was lauded again in the 1990s. This time, however, the praise came from a different camp. Rather than industrialization and economic growth, some began to pay attention to the fast-changing welfare institutions of Taiwan (White and Goodman, 1998). There scholars also found great hopes. Beginning in the early 1980s, Taiwan launched a series of welfare reforms. Laws concerning social assistance, old age welfare, labour standards, youth welfare and many other welfare measures were revamped (Lin, Wan-I, 2002). The Kuomintang (Nationalist Party, hereafter KMT) government also expanded the enrolment and coverage of the Labour Insurance, and launched a new health insurance scheme for all farmers.1 These efforts of improving various welfare programmes and institutions culminated in the inauguration of the National Health Insurance (NHI). The NHI not only brought Taiwan a universal health insurance, it also unified the previously fragmented medical insurance systems, and resolved the serious financial crisis some of these schemes were facing. The NHI was a tremendous success. Polls after 1995 consistently showed that more than 70 per cent of enrolees, hence 70 per cent of citizens, were ‘satisfied with the NHI’ (CBNHI, 2000). Some...

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