IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Made poorer by choice: worker outcomes in Social Security v. private retirement accounts

  • Javed I. Ahmed
  • Brad M. Barber
  • Terrance Odean
Registered author(s):

    Can the freedom to choose how retirement funds are invested leave workers worse off? We analyze social risks of allowing choice, using the Social Security system as an example. Comparing a privatized alternative with the current system via simulation, we document that choice in both equity allocation and equity composition lead to increased income inequality and risk of shortfalls relative to currently promised benefits. While private accounts disproportionately increase shortfall risk for low-income workers, allowing choice increases risk for all workers (even with high return outcomes). Our results suggest that restricted choice should be a central component of private-account-based systems.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2013/201323/201323abs.html
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2013/201323/201323pap.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2013-23.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-23
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551
    Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/fedsorder.html

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
    2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2007. "Individual account investment options and portfolio choice: Behavioral lessons from 401(k) plans," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 1992-2013 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Martin Feldstein, 1997. "Transition to a Fully Funded Pension System: Five Economic Issues," NBER Working Papers 6149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gollier, Christian, 2007. "Intergenerational Risk-Sharing and Risk-Taking of a Pension Fund," IDEI Working Papers 42, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    5. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Public Pension Promises," NBER Working Papers 14343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "The importance of default options for retirement saving outcomes: evidence from the United States," CeRP Working Papers 43, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    7. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2008. "Fight or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors," NBER Working Papers 14177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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.
    9. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    10. repec:hal:journl:hal-00459683 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," NBER Working Papers 12149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Martin S. Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Introduction to "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform"," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Terrance Odean, 1999. "Do Investors Trade Too Much?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1279-1298, December.
    14. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 2001. "Individual Risk in an Investment-Based Social Security System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1116-1125, September.
    15. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld02-1, June.
    16. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2009. "Fight Or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 301-348, February.
    17. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
    18. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2002. "The Equity Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 637-659, 04.
    19. Shiller, Robert J., 2006. "Life-cycle personal accounts proposal for Social Security: An evaluation of President Bush's proposal," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 427-444, May.
    20. Brad M. Barber & Yi-Tsung Lee & Yu-Jane Liu & Terrance Odean, 2009. "Just How Much Do Individual Investors Lose by Trading?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(2), pages 609-632, February.
    21. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1998. "Perspectives on the Social Security Crisis and Proposed Solutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 142-50, May.
    22. Ranguelova, Elena & Feldstein, Martin, 2001. "Individual Risk in an Investment-Based Social Security System," Scholarly Articles 2797440, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    23. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 1998. "Individual Risk and Intergenerational Risk Sharing in an Investment-Based Social Security Program," NBER Working Papers 6839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2000. "Trading Is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 773-806, 04.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.