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The political origin of pension funding

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  • Perotti, Enrico
  • Schwienbacher, Armin

Abstract

The paper seeks to explain the huge cross country variation in private pension funding, shaped by historical choice made when universal pension systems were created after the Great Depression. According to Perotti and von Thadden [Perotti, E., von Thadden, E.-L., 2006. The political economy of corporate control and labor rents. J. Polit. Econ., 145-175], large inflationary shocks due to war damage devastated middle class savings in some countries in the first half of the XX century. This shaped political preferences over the role of capital markets and social insurance, and contributed to the Great Reversals documented by Rajan and Zingales [Rajan, R.G., Zingales, L., 2003. The great reversals: The politics of financial development in the 20th century. J. Finan. Econ. 69 (1), 5-50]. Wealth distribution shocks are indeed strongly related to private pension funding, as a large shock reduces the stock of private retirement assets by 58% of GDP. While the sample size is limited, the results are robust to other explanations, such as legal origin, original financial development, past and current demographics, religion, electoral voting rules, redistributive politics, national experiences with financial market performance, or other major financial shocks that were not specifically redistributive. Corroborating evidence indicates that such redistributive shocks help explain the cross country variation in social expenditures, state ownership of industry, financial development and employment protection measures as predicted by the political shift hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Perotti, Enrico & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2009. "The political origin of pension funding," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 384-404, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinin:v:18:y:2009:i:3:p:384-404
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni B. Pittaluga & Elena Seghezza, 2012. "The role of Rentiers in the stabilization processes of the 1920s," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 188-210, May.
    2. Elizabeth Caucutt & Thomas Cooley & Nezih Guner, 2013. "The farm, the city, and the emergence of social security," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32, March.
    3. Liang, H. & Renneboog, L.D.R., 2013. "The Foundations of Corporate Social Responsibility (replaced by CentER DP 2014-069)," Discussion Paper 2013-071, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Massimiliano Vatiero, 2017. "On The (Political) Origin Of ‘Corporate Governance’ Species," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 393-409, April.
    5. Degryse, Hans & Lambert, Thomas & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2013. "The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries," CEPR Discussion Papers 9621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Ayadi, Rym & Arbak, Emrah & Ben-Naceur, Sami & De Groen, Willem Pieter, 2013. "Determinants of Financial Development across the Mediterranean," CEPS Papers 7770, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    7. D'Amato, Marcello & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2010. "Political intergenerational risk sharing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 628-637, October.
    8. Thorsten Beck, 2013. "Finance, growth and fragility: the role of government," International Journal of Banking, Accounting and Finance, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(1/2), pages 49-77.
    9. Enrico Perotti, 2013. "The Political Economy of Finance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-034/IV/DSF53, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Peter Egger & Doina Radulescu & Nora Strecker, 2017. "On the spread of social protection systems," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(4), pages 550-574, August.
    11. Beck, T.H.L., 2011. "The Role of Finance in Economic Development : Benefits, Risks, and Politics," Discussion Paper 2011-141, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    12. Morck Randall K & Yeung Bernard, 2010. "Corporatism and the Ghost of the Third Way," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 1-61, December.
    13. Rydqvist, Kristian & Spizman, Joshua & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2011. "The evolution of aggregate stock ownership," CFS Working Paper Series 2011/18, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    14. Kemmerling, Achim & Neugart, Michael, 2009. "Financial market lobbies and pension reform," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 163-173, June.
    15. Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "Law and Finance c. 1900," NBER Working Papers 16216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Roe, Mark J. & Siegel, Jordan I., 2011. "Political instability: Effects on financial development, roots in the severity of economic inequality," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 279-309, September.
    17. Meijdam, A.C. & Ponds, E.H.M., 2013. "On the Optimal Degree Of Funding Of Public Sector Pension Plans," Discussion Paper 2013-011, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    18. Aggarwal, Raj & Goodell, John W., 2013. "Political-economy of pension plans: Impact of institutions, gender, and culture," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1860-1879.
    19. Horvath, Roman & Horvatova, Eva & Siranova, Maria, 2017. "Financial development, rule of law and wealth inequality : Bayesian model averaging evidence," BOFIT Discussion Papers 12/2017, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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