IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Pension Wealth and Household Savings in Europe: Evidence from SHARELIFE


  • Alessie, Rob

    () (University of Groningen and Netspar)

  • Angelini, Viola

    () (University of Groningen and Netspar)

  • van Santen, Peter

    () (Research Department, Central Bank of Sweden)


We use recently collected retrospective survey data to estimate the displacement effect of pension wealth on household savings. The third wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, SHARELIFE, collects information on the entire job history of the respondent, a feature missing in most previous studies. We show that addressing measurement error problems is crucial to estimate the displacement effect when using survey data. We find that each euro of pension wealth is associated with a 47 (61) cent decline in non–pension wealth using robust (median) regression. In the presence of biases from measurement errors and omitted (unobserved) variables, we estimate a lower bound to the true offset between 17% and 30%, significantly different from zero. Instrumental variables regression estimates, although less precise, suggest full displacement.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessie, Rob & Angelini, Viola & van Santen, Peter, 2013. "Pension Wealth and Household Savings in Europe: Evidence from SHARELIFE," Working Paper Series 265, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:rbnkwp:0265

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in Germany," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 565-584, October.
    2. Kapteyn, Arie & Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2005. "Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts: Productivity growth and Social Security," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1361-1391, July.
    3. Michael Hurd & Pierre‐Carl Michaud & Susann Rohwedder, 2012. "The Displacement Effect of Public Pensions on the Accumulation of Financial Assets," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 107-128, March.
    4. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
    5. Tullio Jappelli, 2010. "Economic Literacy: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 429-451, November.
    6. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2011. "Financial literacy around the world: an overview," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 497-508, October.
    7. Johan Almenberg & Jenny Säve-Söderbergh, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in Sweden," CeRP Working Papers 112, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    8. Dimitrios Christelis, 2011. "Imputation of Missing Data in Waves 1 and 2 of SHARE," CSEF Working Papers 278, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    9. Almenberg, Johan & Säve-Söderbergh, Jenny, 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in Sweden," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 585-598, October.
    10. Klapper, Leora & Panos, Georgios A., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning: the Russian case," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 599-618, October.
    11. Hubbard, R Glenn, 1986. "Pension Wealth and Individual Saving: Some New Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(2), pages 167-178, May.
    12. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    13. Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & King, Mervyn, 1984. "Pension wealth and household savings: Tests of robustness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 115-139.
    14. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security and Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119.
    15. Viola Angelini & Agar Brugiavini & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Ageing and unused capacity in Europe: is there an early retirement trap?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 463-508, July.
    16. William G. Gale, 1998. "The Effects of Pensions on Household Wealth: A Reevaluation of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 706-723, August.
    17. Jappelli, Tullio, 1995. "Does social security reduce the accumulation of private wealth? Evidence from Italian survey data," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-31, March.
    18. Alessie, Rob & Van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement preparation in the Netherlands," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 527-545, October.
    19. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, January.
    20. Orazio P. Attanasio & Susann Rohwedder, 2003. "Pension Wealth and Household Saving: Evidence from Pension Reforms in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1499-1521, December.
    21. Fornero, Elsa & Monticone, Chiara, 2011. "Financial literacy and pension plan participation in Italy," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 547-564, October.
    22. Chernozhukov, Victor & Hansen, Christian, 2008. "Instrumental variable quantile regression: A robust inference approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 379-398, January.
    23. Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2011. "Pensions and Household Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 203-236.
    24. Feldstein, Martin & Pellechio, Anthony, 1979. "Social Security and Household Wealth Accumulation: New Microeconometric Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(3), pages 361-368, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Luca Stella, 2013. "Intergenerational transmission of human capital in Europe: evidence from SHARE," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, December.
    2. van Santen, Peter, 2016. "Uncertain pension income and household saving," Working Paper Series 330, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    3. Serena Yu, 2016. "Retiree Welfare and the 2009 Pension Increase: Impacts from an Australian Experiment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(296), pages 67-80, March.
    4. Axel Börsch-Supan & Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Michela Coppola & Bettina Lamla, 2015. "Savings In Times Of Demographic Change: Lessons From The German Experience," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 807-829, September.
    5. Timm Bönke & Markus M. Grabka & Carsten Schröder & Edward N. Wolff & Lennard Zyska, 2016. "The Joint Distribution of Net Worth and Pension Wealth in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 853, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Andersen, Torben M. & Bhattacharya, Joydeep, 2016. "Why mandate young borrowers to contribute to their retirement accounts?," ISU General Staff Papers 201609260700001016, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Fessler, Pirmin & Schürz, Martin, 2015. "Private wealth across European countries: the role of income, inheritance and the welfare state," Working Paper Series 1847, European Central Bank.
    8. Michele Belloni & Agar Brugiavini & Raluca E. Buia & Ludovico Carrino & Danilo Cavapozzi & Cristina E. Orso & Giacomo Pasini, 2017. "What do we learn about redistribution effects of pension systems from internationally comparable measures of Social Security Wealth?," Working Papers 2017:14, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    9. Lachowska, Marta & Myck, Michal, 2015. "The Effect of Public Pension Wealth on Saving and Expenditure," IZA Discussion Papers 8895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Andreas Thiemann, 2016. "How Does Maternal Pension Wealth Affect Family Old-Age Savings in Germany?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1560, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Klaus Kaier & Christoph Müller, 2015. "New figures on unfunded public pension entitlements across Europe: concept, results and applications," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 865-895, November.
    12. Aleksandra Kolasa & Barbara Liberda, 2014. "Determinants of saving in Poland: Are they different than in other OECD countries?," Working Papers 2014-13, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    13. Frank Cowell & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera & Philippe Van Kerm, 2017. "Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality," LWS Working papers 24, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    14. Thomas Blanchet & Yves Dubois & Anthony Marino & Muriel Roger, 2016. "Patrimoine privé et retraite en France," Revue française d'économie, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 207-244.
    15. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-01292412 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Mathieu Lefebvre & Sergio Perelman, 2016. "Social security wealth and household asset holdings: new evidence from Belgium," Working Papers of BETA 2016-38, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    17. repec:pab:rmcpee:v:24:y:2018:i:1:p:292-339 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Christoph Freudenberg & Tamás Berki & Ádám Reiff, 2016. "A Long-Term Evaluation of Recent Hungarian Pension Reforms," MNB Working Papers 2016/2, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    19. Dillingh, Rik, 2016. "Empirical essays on behavioral economics and lifecycle decisions," Other publications TiSEM 0e2143e3-bd86-4302-90eb-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    20. Manuel Flores & Pilar Garcia-Gomez & Adriaan Kalwij, 2015. "Early Life Circumstances and Life Cycle Labor Market Outcomes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-094/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    21. Li, Yue & Mastrogiacomo, Mauro & Hochguertel, Stefan & Bloemen, Hans, 2016. "The role of wealth in the start-up decision of new self-employed: Evidence from a pension policy reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 280-290.
    22. Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle & Streb, Jochen, 2017. "Does Social Security crowd out Private Savings? The Case of Bismarck’s System of Social Insurance," IBF Paper Series 06-17, IBF – Institut für Bank- und Finanzgeschichte / Institute for Banking and Financial History, Frankfurt am Main.

    More about this item


    Displacement effect; Lifetime income; Retrospective survey; Measurement error;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:rbnkwp:0265. 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: (Lena Löfgren). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.