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Lessons of the Financial Crisis for the Design of National Pension Systems

  • Gary Burtless

The recent financial crisis and historical record suggest important lessons about the design of national pension systems. First, wide fluctuation in asset returns makes it hard for well-informed savers to select a saving rate or a sensible investment strategy for DC pensions. Workers who follow identical investment strategies but who retire a few years apart can receive DC pensions that are startlingly unequal. Second, it is hard for ordinary workers, as opposed to optimal planners, to make sensible choices about portfolio allocation. Their investment errors mean that actual returns fall short of the theoretical returns that could be earned by a well-informed, disciplined investor.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2009/wp-cesifo-2009-07/cesifo1_wp2735.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2735.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2735
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  1. Canner, Niko & Mankiw, N Gregory & Weil, David N, 1997. "An Asset Allocation Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 181-91, March.
  2. Alexander, Gordon J. & Jones, Jonathan D. & Nigro, Peter J., 1998. "Mutual fund shareholders: characteristics, investor knowledge, and sources of information," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 301-316.
  3. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Fried, Jesse M., 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt81q3136r, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  4. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 2002. "How Much Is Investor Autonomy Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1593-1616, 08.
  5. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," NBER Working Papers 9813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gary Burtless, 2000. "Social Security Privatization and Financial Market Risk: Lessons from U.S. Financial History," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 211, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2004. "Plan Design and 401(k) Savings Outcomes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 275-98, June.
  8. Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Excessive Extrapolation and the Allocation of 401(k) Accounts to Company Stock," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1747-1764, October.
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