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Implications of Behavioural Economics for Mandatory Individual Account Pension Systems

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  • Waldo Tapia
  • Juan Yermo
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    Abstract

    In individual account pension systems, members bear the risks and consequences of their investment decisions. If participants behave as predicted by economic theory, such responsibility would be welfare-enhancing as members would invest and hold a portfolio of financial assets with a risk-return combination consistent with their investment horizon, degree of risk aversion and the portfolio of other assets they hold, including their human capital and, where relevant, their home. Behavioural economists and empirical researches have shown that in reality members are not particularly good at handling their retirement savings, either because they lack the necessary cognitive ability to solve the optimization problem, because they have insufficient will power to execute it, or even sometimes because they are overconfident. This paper describes the extent to which plan members make active investment decisions in these systems and assesses the policy solutions that have been put forward to facilitate choice. The paper offers a comparative analysis of ten countries that have implemented investment choice in the accumulation stage of their individual account pension system. Implications de l'économie des comportements pour les systèmes de pension à comptes individuels obligatoires Dans les systèmes de pension à comptes individuels, les membres supportent les risques et les conséquences de leurs décisions d'investissement. Si les participants se comportent comme le prédit la théorie économique, le fait qu‘ils assument cette responsabilité doit améliorer leur bien-être car ils réaliseront des investissements et détiendront un portefeuille d‘actifs financiers présentant un couple risque-rendement qui sera cohérent avec leur horizon d'investissement, avec leur degré d'aversion au risque et avec les autres types d‘actifs qu'ils détiennent, notamment en termes de capital humain et, le cas échéant, d'immobilier. Les économistes du comportement et les recherches empiriques ont toutefois montré que, dans la réalité, les membres des systèmes de pension à comptes individuels ne savent pas particulièrement bien gérer leur épargne retraite, parce qu‘ils n‘ont pas les connaissances nécessaires pour résoudre le problème de l'optimisation, ou parce qu'ils n‘ont pas la volonté suffisante pour mettre en oeuvre les décisions nécessaires ou, parfois encore, parce qu'ils pèchent par excès de confiance. Dans ce document, on observe dans quelle mesure les membres des plans font des choix d'investissement actifs et on examine les mesures qui ont été prises par les pouvoirs publics pour faciliter ces choix. On procède, par ailleurs, à une analyse comparative de la situation dans dix pays qui ont introduit des possibilités de choix des investissements, durant la phase d'accumulation, dans leur système de pension à comptes individuels.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/103002825851
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Working Papers on Insurance and Private Pensions with number 11.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaab:11-en

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    Keywords: portfolio preferences; pension fund; investment return ; investment limits; individual choice ; investment alternative; individual account; pension plan; élection individuelle; préférence de portfolio; limite d'investissement; fonds de pension; compte individuel; alternative d'investissement; plan de retraite; retour sur investissement;

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The looming pensions crisis
      by brianmlucey in Brian M. Lucey on 2011-10-08 08:09:47
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    Cited by:
    1. Giuseppe Cappelletti & Giovanni Guazzarotti & Pietro Tommasino, 2010. "The effect of age on portfolio choices: evidence form an Italian pension fund," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 768, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Nicholas Barr & Peter Diamond, 2009. "Reforming pensions: principles, analytical errors and policy directions," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25099, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Nicholas Barr & Peter A. Diamond, 2009. "Reforming Pensions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2523, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Solange Berstein & Olga Fuentes & Nicolás Torrealba, 2011. "La Importancia de la Opción por Omisión en los Sistemas de Pensiones de Cuentas Individuales," Working Papers 44, Superintendencia de Pensiones, revised Jan 2011.
    5. Bob Baldwin, 2008. "The Shift from DB to DC Coverage: A Reflection on the Issues," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(s1), pages 29-38, November.

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