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Pension wealth and household saving: evidence from pension reforms in the UK

  • Orazio Attanasio

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Susanne Rohwedder

Using three major UK pension reforms as natural experiments we investigate the relationship between pension saving and discretionary private savings. Unlike most differences-in -differences approaches which rely on average differences between the control and the treatment group, we use economic theory to model the response of each individual household. The model permits us to use both time- series and cross-sectional variation in a consistent way to identify the behavioural response. The study is based on data from the Family Expenditure Survey. A measure of pension wealth is not observed, but we estimate it by applying the rules of the pension system to observed individual characteristics. The changes in pension wealth as a result of the reforms are substantial. The empirical analysis suggests that the earnings -related tier of the pension scheme has a negative impact on private savings with substitution elasticities approaching –1.0. The impact of the flat-rate tier of the scheme is found not to be significantly different from zero.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W01/21.

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Length: 34 pp
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:01/21
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  1. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale, 1997. "Effects of Social Security reform on private and national saving," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 41(Jun), pages 103-142.
  2. 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.
  3. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dilnot, Andrew & Disney, Richard & Johnson, Paul & Whitehouse, Edward, 1994. "Pensions policy in the UK: An economic analysis," MPRA Paper 10478, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security And Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119, August.
  6. R Disney & C Emmerson & M Wakefield, 2001. "Pension reform and saving in Britain," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 70-94, Spring.
  7. James Banks & Carl Emmerson, 2000. "Public and private pension spending: principles, practice and the need for reform," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 1-63, March.
  8. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  9. 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.
  10. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
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