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The Impact of Individual Investment Behavior for Retirement Welfare: Evidence from the United States and Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Post
  • Helmut Gründl
  • Joan Schmit
  • Anja Zimmer

Abstract

Much of the industrialized world is undergoing a significant demographic shift, placing strain on public pension systems. Policymakers are responding with pension system reforms that put more weight on privately managed retirement funds. One concern with these changes is the effect on individual welfare if individuals invest suboptimally. Using micro-level data from the United States and Germany, we compare the optimal expected lifetime utility computed using a realistically calibrated model with the actual utility as reflected in empirical asset allocation choices. Through this analysis, we are able to identify the population subgroups with relatively large welfare losses. Our results should be helpful to public policymakers in designing programs to improve the performance of privately organized retirement systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Post & Helmut Gründl & Joan Schmit & Anja Zimmer, 2008. "The Impact of Individual Investment Behavior for Retirement Welfare: Evidence from the United States and Germany," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2008-037, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-037
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset Allocation; Retirement Welfare; Pension Reform;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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