The purpose of this paper is to examine the social and fiscal effectiveness of portability policy. Based on analysis carried out between November 1998 and November 1999, it is the first comprehensive assessment of portability policy since its introduction in 1972. To assess the social benefits produced by portability policy and its costs, including the costs of pensions as well as some external factors such as the costs of welfare infrastructure, a standard cost–benefit method was applied.
In light of international trends towards portability (where social security payments continue when the recipient has left the country), this paper examines current policy in Australia. Through a survey of 1009 randomly selected households, it was found that Age Pension portability produced both significant social and economic benefits.