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Selected Research Project
Project Title Creating an Adequate and Equalizing but Affordable Retirement Protection System in Hong Kong
Principal Investigator Prof Chou Kee Lee
Area of Research Project
Public Policy Studies
Project Period
From 6/2012 To 6/2017
  • To assess the distribution of income and asset as well as income inequality among older adults over the next 30 years and identify the characteristics of the poor;
  • To evaluate the contribution and performance of different components of our retirement protection system to income protection and income inequality of the aged population over the next 30 years;
  • To evaluate the suggested measures or designs in their effectiveness in reduction of poverty and income inequality in aged population and financial sustainability over the next 30 years by micro-simulation with longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data;
  • To evaluate the recommended measures or designs by taking into account the results obtained from achieving the above objectives, as well as by considering social (public acceptance to policy change), economic, and political circumstances of Hong Kong; and
  • To recommend the most appropriate policy options by taking into account the results obtained from achieving all of the above objectives, and to propose a detailed redesign of the scheme and an appropriate implementation strategy.
Methods Used

To achieve objectives mentioned above, we will perform numerous tasks including comprehensive literature review and qualitative study involving key stakeholders; conducting a 2-year longitudinal study of a representative sample of 1,500 adults; developing macro- and mirco-simulation models; performing macro- and micro-simulation by using the longitudinal data and other public accessible data; conducting in-depth interviews or focus groups with key stakeholders; and a public opinion survey of 1,067 adults in Hong Kong.

Summary of Findings
A thorough understanding of our retirement income protection system in Hong Kong and proposing measures which could improve its effectiveness in poverty eradication and reduction in income inequality in old age as well as its financial sustainability.

The final product of the proposed study, the recommended policies, will help to establish an adequate and affordable retirement income protection system in Hong Kong and to level-off the accumulated disadvantages in old age.

The longitudinal data to be obtained in this study will be used to compare other similar longitudinal studies of aging in many other nations including Canada, China, Costa Rican, European countries, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexica, and United Kingdom.

Dynamic macro- and micro-simulation models to be developed in this study will be used to evaluate any proposed structural and parametric reform in our retirement income protection system. Moreover, the micro-simulation modeling developed in this project will also easily accommodate the demand from other social policy issues related to the elderly like demand and financial burden of long term care for the elderly people.

Selected Publications Related to the Study

Paper under review:

  • Chou, K.L., Chan, W.S., Chan, A.C.M., & Yu, K.M. (2013). Correlates of Retirement Private Savings in Hong Kong. Ageing and Society.
  • Chou, K.L., Chan, W.S., Chung, K.W., and Wu, A.M. (2013). Perceived Retirement Savings Adequacy in Hong Kong: Interdisciplinary Financial Planning Model. Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Newspaper columns in Hong Kong Economic Journal, Hong Kong Economic Times, and Mingpao (at least 10 articles related old age living allowance)

Press Conferences will be held to release the data to the public.

At least 10 papers published in international journals in gerontology and social policy.

Biography of Principal Investigator

Professor Chou has wide research interests in areas concerning geriatric psychiatry, elderly policies, population policy especially immigrant policy, poverty, welfare reform, income inequality and health policy. In the past decade, he has published over one hundred papers in  international peer reviewed journals. His research work with older adults in Hong Kong and elsewhere has gained him an international profile, with his work cited widely. Since 2009, he worked has ranked in the top one percent of scholars on the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI).

 Professor Chou has conducted numerous policy research projects funded by the Research Grant Council (RGC) and the Central Policy Unit, government of Hong Kong. His current research project is a five-year study on retirement income protection in Hong Kong funded by the RGC Strategic Public Policy Research Fund. He is also working on research projects concerning child poverty of children living in immigrant families funded by the RGC Public Policy Research Fund.

 Professor Chou is the Associate Editor of Aging and Mental Health, the section editor of BioMed Central Geriatrics and also a Member of the Editorial Boards of the Asian Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development and Journal of Aging Research

Funding Source
Strategic Public Policy Research Funding Scheme