A Global Ranking of National Social Security Systems and Programs
The basis for the ordinal ranking of social security programs and systems (given in Appendix 10.1 (country rank order), 10.2 (country alphabetical order) and 10.3 (regional country rankings)) is the inclusion or exclusion of 860 particular program design features that make them "more" or "less" acceptable, according to a set of benchmarks embodying the ILO's conventions on minimum social security standards (ILO 1952a, 1952c, 1964, 1966. 1967, 1968, 1969, 1988a and 1989a) (see Appendix 10.4). These league tables have been compiled on the basis of statutory intent. Some countries -- particularly those in post-socialist East Europe and Central Asia -- that have been identified as having well- designed programs may indeed have social security systems that are severely restricted, even inoperative, because of war, natural disasters or severe economic dislocation.
Most of the best-designed old-age programs can be found in Western Europe. The very best are in Scandinavia -- conspicuously Finland, Sweden (2nd) and Denmark (3rd) -- followed by Portugal, France, and Australia and Italy (equal 4th), Canada (8th) and Austria, Iceland and Turkmenistan (equal 9th). In Africa and the Middle East unquestionably the best-designed programs are in Mauritius and Turkey, respectively. In Latin America, the Pacific Islands and Eastern Europe this honor is held, respectively, by Nicaragua just ahead of Brazil, by the Cook Islands and Nauru (in that order) and by Belarus and the Ukraine (equal ranking).