The Establishment of China’s New Type Rural Social Insurance Pension: A Process Perspective

Matthias Stepan, Quan Lu


This study explores the processes and outcomes of the public policy reforms from 2002 to 2014, targeting income security among the elderly for a segment of the Chinese population that was increasingly marginalised throughout the 1990s: the rural population. The authors reconstruct the policy process from 2002 until 2014 that led to the establishment of the New Type Rural Social Insurance Pension and assess its impact on providing adequate and sustainable old-age income. One particular focus is the study of the influence of international actors. Yet, as key to the success of the initiative, the authors identify the decisive support of the central level leadership, which facilitated the process by announcing a new development model and providing earmarked transfers from the central government. Despite the improvements in the income security of elderly rural Chinese, questions remain about the Chinese pension system’s long-term sustainability and the influence of the system’s fragmentation on social mobility and equality.

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