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Assessing the effects of unconventional monetary policy and low interest rates on pension fund risk incentives

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  • Boubaker, Sabri
  • Gounopoulos, Dimitrios
  • Nguyen, Duc Khuong
  • Paltalidis, Nikos

Abstract

This study quantifies the effects of persistently low interest rates near to the zero lower bound and unconventional monetary policy on pension fund risk incentives in the United States. Using two structural vector autoregressive (VAR) models and a counterfactual scenario analysis, the results show that monetary policy shocks, as identified by changes in Treasury yields following changes in the central bank's target interest rates, lead to a substantial increase in pension funds’ allocation to equity assets. Notably, the shift from bonds to equity securities is greater during the period where the US Federal Reserve launched unconventional monetary policy measures. Additional findings show a positive correlation between pension fund risk-taking, low interest rates and the decline in Treasury yields across both well-funded and underfunded public pension plans, which is thus consistent with a structural risk-shifting incentive.

Suggested Citation

  • Boubaker, Sabri & Gounopoulos, Dimitrios & Nguyen, Duc Khuong & Paltalidis, Nikos, 2017. "Assessing the effects of unconventional monetary policy and low interest rates on pension fund risk incentives," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 35-52.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:35-52
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2016.12.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Robin Greenwood & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2018. "The Impact of Pensions and Insurance on Global Yield Curves," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-109, Harvard Business School.
    2. Boubaker, Sabri & Nguyen, Duc Khuong & Paltalidis, Nikos, 2018. "Fiscal policy interventions at the zero lower bound," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 297-314.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pension funds; Unconventional monetary policy; Asset allocation; Interest rates;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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