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The Politics of MPF Reform: Lessons from Public Attitudes in Hong Kong

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2020

Stefan Kühner
Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Centre for Social Policy and Social Change, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, E-mail:
Kee-Lee Chou
Department of Asian and Policy Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong, E-mail:


This article examines public attitudes towards two reform options for the defined-contribution (DC) Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme in Hong Kong: (i) increasing MPF contributions; or (ii) introducing a universal pension partly funded by switching MPF contributions to the universal pension. Drawing on a phone survey conducted with 975 active contributors to the MPF, we examine whether agreement with these MPF reform options can be explained by respondents’ self-interest, attachment to different welfare ideologies, their level of confusion with the MPF, uncertainty about future MPF income, and trust in the Hong Kong government to deal with MPF issues. This research identifies that it is uncertainty with future MPF income and low trust in the Hong Kong government to deal with MPF issues that have the most significant effect on respondents’ MPF reform preferences. Mainstream accounts of the effect of liberalist, universalist, conservative, and familistic welfare ideologies are only partially confirmed.

© Cambridge University Press 2020

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