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Getting Life Expectancy Estimates Right for Pension Policy: Period versus Cohort Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Ayuso, Mercedes

    () (University of Barcelona)

  • Bravo, Jorge Miguel

    () (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

  • Holzmann, Robert

    () (University of New South Wales)

Abstract

In many policy areas it is essential to use the best estimates of life expectancy, but such estimates are vital to most areas of pension policy – from indexed access age and the calculation of initial benefits to the financial sustainability of pension schemes and the operation of their balancing mechanism. This paper presents the conceptual differences between static period and dynamic cohort mortality tables, estimates the differences in life expectancy between both tables using data from Portugal and Spain, and compares official estimates of both life expectancy estimates for Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States for 1981, 2010 and 2060. This comparison reveals major differences between period and cohort life expectancy in and between countries and across years. Using measures of period instead of cohort life expectancy creates an implicit subsidy for individuals of 30 percent or more, with potentially stark consequences on the financial sustainability of pension schemes. These and other implications for pension policy are explored and next steps suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayuso, Mercedes & Bravo, Jorge Miguel & Holzmann, Robert, 2018. "Getting Life Expectancy Estimates Right for Pension Policy: Period versus Cohort Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 11512, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11512
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cross-country comparison; Lee-Carter; life expectancy indexation; balancing mechanism;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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