China’s social security: from rapid expansion to high-quality development

HE Wenjiong1

(1. Center of Social Welfare and Governance of Zhejiang University)

【Abstract】Since the reform and opening up, China’s social security has achieved comprehensive transformation and rapid development, and its achievements have attracted worldwide attention. In the meantime, there are still many problems in the field, such as the lack of universal social security coverage, the failure of some programs to cover basic risks effectively for citizens, and the difficulty of the current system in adapting to the socioeconomic changes. Therefore, it is imperative to pay great attention to the quality of social security development. This paper reveals the less development of social security quality in the previous stage from the perspectives of fairness, institutional sustainability and operational efficiency. This less development is incompatible with the requirements of national governance modernization. It is proposed that China’s social security should transform from rapid expansion to high-quality development. It is vital to form an effective social security governance mechanism by deepening reform and improving the quality of institutional framework, system design, operation mechanism, and service supply. This is to optimize the allocation of social security resources and to achieve high-quality development of social security, along with making due contributions to people’s livelihood and long-term stability of the society.

【Keywords】 social security; rapid expansion; social security quality;


【Funds】 Major Project of National Social Science Fund of China (13&ZD163)

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    [1]. ① When Wen Jiabao reviewed the work in 2011 in the Government Work Report (2012), he said “We further expanded coverage of basic medical insurance, so that now 1.3 billion urban and rural residents are covered. A medical insurance system that covers the whole population is emerging.” [^Back]

    [2]. ② Data from the Statistical Bulletin on the Development of the Human Resources and Social Security. [^Back]

    [3]. ③ National Audit Office. ( [^Back]

    [4]. ① New Rural Social Pension Insurance Survey ( [^Back]

    [5]. ② On December 15, 2015, Liu Yongfu, Director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said at a press conference that according to a survey conducted by State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, among more than 70 million poor farmers in the country, farmers in poverty due to illness is account for 42%. [^Back]

    [6]. ① Regarding the study of the fairness of social security system and the effect of income redistribution, many focus on a certain system, and this paper starts from the fairness of national basic security rights and interests, and examines fairness and the effect of income redistribution of the basic risk protection programs of the same kind as a whole. [^Back]

    [7]. ② In the past few years, part of the region has included the cost of maternity medical care within the scope of the new rural cooperative medical care system, but other aspects of maternity security have not been available. [^Back]

    [8]. ① In many areas, the disposable income of active employees was lower than that of retirees. [^Back]

    [9]. ① It is generally believed that the business results of life insurance companies are affected by three factors: mortality spread, spread and expense spread. Assuming that other factors remain the same, and the actual return on investment is lower than the predetermined interest rate, it is “spread loss” and otherwise, it is spread income. In social insurance, that the actual return on investment is lower than the account interest rate is an important risk factor. [^Back]

    [10]. ② At that time, the policy for the construction of the social security system was “wide coverage, low level, and multiple levels.” [^Back]

    [11]. ① In 2016, the Beijing Home Care Services and Facilities Survey stated that the ratio of actual use of beds to the design beds or utilization rate was 49.7%. ( Tjcb/dysj/201809/t20180905_1621051.html). [^Back]

    [12]. ① Regardless of whether it is basic medical insurance for employees or basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents, the system was clearly defined as the main responsibility for protecting serious diseases, but it was blurred in the past few years, causing some people to have misunderstandings. Some oppose the basic security against the security for serious diseases. [^Back]

    [13]. ① Inspired by the term “insurance depth” in insurance, we introduce the term “social security depth” here to reflect the status of social security as a kind of economic activity in the national economy to represent the share of social security resources in GDP. The share is calculated by dividing the total social security expenditure in a certain country or region by the GDP of the same period. [^Back]

    [14]. ② This indicator is inspired by the term “insurance density,” which is the total social security expenditure in a given country or region divided by the total population at the end of the period. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1043/C

Vol , No. 01, Pages 2-15+126

February 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Performance of low quality of social security
  • 3 Actively promote the high-quality development of social security
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