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Pensions and public opinion: a survey among dutch households


  • P.J.A. van Els
  • W.A. van den End
  • M.C.J. van Rooij


This paper reports on the findings of a survey among Dutch households (as part of the DNB Household Survey in 2003) about many aspects (expectations, concerns, attitude and preferences) of their pensions and the old-age-arrangements in the Netherlands. We explore whether the outcomes are related to specific financial and non-financial household or personal characteristics. A clear majority of the Dutch public expects public pension schemes to be retrenched and rejects reforms that infringe on what they regard as acquired rights. One would rather like to pay higher contributions until the age of 65. The divergence in preferences towards retrenchment measures across generations indicates that intergenerational risk sharing is not something natural. The public prefers to have their pension buildup managed by pension funds and would accept having to pay higher contributions in exchange for guaranteed benefits. Yet, a substantial minority advocates a greater freedom of choice. Surprisingly, this preference for freedom is not linked to particular household characteristics, nor does it reflect the particular interest of those who already have third pillar pension provisions. Many, however, are as yet not concerned about their pension rights, adopting a "we'll see about that when we come to that" attitude. This manifests itself in a substantial lack of knowledge about one's own personal pension arrangements, notably for young generations, women, low-skilled workers and people out of work.

Suggested Citation

  • P.J.A. van Els & W.A. van den End & M.C.J. van Rooij, 2003. "Pensions and public opinion: a survey among dutch households," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 752, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:wormem:752

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alessie, R.J.M. & Kapteyn, A. & Klijn, F.E., 1997. "Mandatory pensions and personal savings in The Netherlands," Other publications TiSEM dcff6ab7-1712-4830-bafe-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
    3. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
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    Cited by:

    1. Yosr Abid Fourati & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2009. "Eliciting Individual Preferences for Pension Reform," Working Papers 0150, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 2009.
    2. Maarten C.J. van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob J.M. Alessie, 2012. "Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning and Household Wealth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 449-478, May.
    3. van Rooij, Maarten C.J. & Kool, Clemens J.M. & Prast, Henriette M., 2007. "Risk-return preferences in the pension domain: Are people able to choose?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 701-722, April.
    4. van Rooij, Maarten C.J. & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J.M., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in the Netherlands," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 593-608, August.
    5. Hayo, Bernd & Ono, Hiroyuki, 2011. "Livelihood and care of the elderly: Determinants of public attitudes in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 76-98, March.
    6. Allard Bruinshoofd & Sybille Grob, 2006. "Do changes in pension incentives affect retirement? A stated preferences approach to Dutch retirement consideration," DNB Working Papers 115, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    7. Hayo, Bernd & Ono, Hiroyuki, 2010. "Comparing public attitudes toward providing for the livelihood of the elderly in two aging societies: Germany and Japan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 72-80, January.
    8. Mark van Duijn & Maarten Lindeboom & Mauro Mastrogiacomo & M. Lundborg, 2009. "Pension plans and the retirement replacement rates in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 118, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    9. Maarten Rooij & Arjen Siegmann & Peter Vlaar, 2008. "Market Valuation, Pension Fund Policy and Contribution Volatility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 73-93, March.

    More about this item


    public pensions; second pillar pensions; household survey; risk attitude and preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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