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Averting the Old Age Crisis

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Estelle James is currently Professor Emeritus, State University of New York at Stony Brook and Consultant to the World Bank, USAID and other organizations. Previously she was Lead Economist at the World Bank and Director of the Pension Flagship Course at the World Bank Institute. She is also a member of the Governing Board of the new pension fund in Kosovo and served as a member of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security in the U.S. She is principal author of Averting the Old Age Crisis: Policies to Protect the Old and Promote Growth, a World Bank study that provided the first global analysis of economic problems associated with population aging. This study has become the basis for much of the World Bank’s advice in this area and for reforms that are now taking place in many countries. She has lectured extensively on this topic, advised governments in China, Costa Rica, India, Thailand, Indonesia and other countries, and published numerous papers in professional journals. Her recent research has focused on social security reform, including the administrative costs of individual accounts, how to handle the annuity stage, and the gender impact of alternative systems.

Dr. James’ previous work concentrated on international comparisons of public-private sector interactions in the provision of education and the role of the third sector—non-profit, non-governmental organizations. Before joining the Bank in 1991, she was Professor of Economics at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where she also served as Chair of the Economics Department and Provost, Social and Behavioral Sciences. She received her BS from Cornell University and her Ph. D. from MIT.

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