Social Wellbeing Research Centre (SWRC)
The Social Wellbeing Research Centre (SWRC) was established in March 2011 at the Faculty of Economics and Administration (FEA), University of Malaya to initiate and carry out research, teaching and dissemination of evidence-based knowledge in the area of social security, including old age financial protection aimed at enhancing the understanding of this critical topic to promote economic development and social cohesion in Malaysia.
To support research in social security in general and old-age financial protection in particular the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) of Malaysia has graciously provided an endowment fund to create the nation’s first endowed Chair in Old Age Financial Protection (OAFPC) at University of Malaya. OAFPC has the over-riding objectives to help formulate policies to promote better social security and improve old age financial protection, and to help formulate policies to promote economic growth in an aging society for consideration by the Government of Malaysia.
The interest in social security and old-age financial protection is ever growing in view of an ageing population. Malaysia is also subjected to rising life expectancy and falling fertility rates, the perceived inadequacy of current social security provisions, coupled with the added fear that simply by spending more may not be conducive to the development and growth objectives of the society. This calls for innovative policy solutions that may be inspired by international experience based on an empirical grounding in national data and analysis.
Old Age Financial Protection Chair
The Old Age Financial Protection Chair (“the Chair”) is established at the University of Malaya (“UM”) through an endowment fund from Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and a Trust Deed were signed upon the establishment of the Chair on 25 August 2008. In general, the main objective of the Chair is to conduct policy research regarding social security issues and pension reforms.
The Chair was initially under the purview of Faculty of Business and Accountancy, UM but was subsequently transferred to the Faculty of Economics and Administration, UM in 2011.
Professor Dr. Naohiro Ogawa
Naohiro Ogawa is SWRC’s current Holder of the Old-Age Financial Protection Chair (OAFPC). He is a professor at Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, and Professor Emeritus at College of Economics, Nihon University. His ongoing project is on Asia’s Intergenerational Equity, Poverty Alleviation and Public Policy at Nihon University Population Research Institute which is funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). His other project is on Policies for Coping with Declining Fertility and Population Aging at University of Tokyo funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). He has completed several other projects funded by the Japan Medical Association, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Government of Japan and International Development Research Centre.
He is a Member of the United Nations International Technical Advisory Board for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. His research and consultancy revolves around demographic and social security, fertility, intergenerational transfers, population aging, and social protection, mainly in Asia. He has published several books and written extensively in academic journals.
Professor Dr. Robert Holzmann
(1 March 2014 – 31 March 2015)
Robert Holzmann was OAFPC’s Chairholder from 2012 to 2015. He is currently SWRC’s Distinguished Research Fellow. Robert is a professor of economics in University of Vienna, Austria. He is also the director of RH Institute for Economic Policy Analyses, Vienna and serves as Senior Advisor (consultant) to the World Bank. He was previously professor of economics at Harvard University (US), Oxford University (UK) and University of Saarland, Germany. He joined the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany as a Research Fellow in 2003 and created with Klaus Zimmermann the Program on “Employment and Development” for which he now serves as Chair of the Scientific Committee. He researches, teaches and consults internationally on pensions, financial literacy/capability, labor and migration issues.
He has served as advisor and director in various prominent organizations such as OECD and the International Monetory Fund (IMF), where he headed various departments which include Social Protection, Labor, Pensions and Financial Literacy. His research and operational involvement extends to all regions of the world. He has published more than thirty books and over 150 articles on social, fiscal and financial policy issues.
Professor Dr. Sarah Harper
(1 July 2009 – 15 June 2010)
Sarah Harper was the first Chairholder of OAFPC at SWRC. She is Professor of Gerontology and Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University. Sarah serves on the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, and chairs the UK government’s Foresight Review on Ageing Societies, and the European Ageing Index Panel for the UNECE Population Unit. She is also the Governor of the Pensions Policy Institute. Throughout her academic career, Sarah has combined academic research with external professional commitments. She has served as advisor on demographic and population and ageing issues among others, to the governments of Malaysia, Singapore and the European Commission, the Swedish Academy, the MacArthur Foundation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and HSBC plc.
She founded the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Her current research is on demographic change which addresses the global and regional impact of falling fertility and increasing longevity with particular interest in Asia and Africa.