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The capitalization and portfolio risk of insurance companies


  • Richard W. Kopcke


The enormous growth in both Social Security and private pension plans has stimulated much interest in the impact of these retirement programs on individual saving behavior and the level of national saving. The first issue is the extent to which employees covered by pension plans reduce their own direct saving in response to expected retirement benefits; the response of individuals to guaranteed retirement income will determine, to a large extent, their well-being in retirement. For a nation concerned about saving and capital formation, the second issue is the impact of collectivized retirement saving plans on the national saving rate. This impact will depend not only on individual responses to promised pension benefits, but also on the extent to which firms undertake direct saving, and, if they do not, the extent to which shareholders recognize and compensate for unfunded pension liabilities. The effect of pensions on national saving also requires determining the degree to which increased saving induced by favorable tax provisions exceeds the loss of government revenues. ; This paper will lay out the questions that need to be answered in order to determine the impact of private pension plans on saving, highlight those aspects of pensions that may complicate the analysis, summarize the results of empirical research in this area, and finally make recommendations for improvements in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard W. Kopcke, 1991. "The capitalization and portfolio risk of insurance companies," Working Papers 91-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:91-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Galai, Dan & Masulis, Ronald W., 1976. "The option pricing model and the risk factor of stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 53-81.
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    12. Richard E. Randall, 1989. "Can the market evaluate asset quality exposure in banks?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 3-24.
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