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Preparing for Policy Changes: Social Security Expectations and Pension Scheme Participation

  • van der Wiel, Karen

    ()

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

Western governments are currently contemplating how to adapt their Pay-As-You-Go pension systems so that these remain financially sustainable, even with an aged population. To the extent that policy-makers haven't already adapted their old age social security schemes, an ageing population thus leads to policy uncertainty in first pillar pensions. This paper sheds more light on the relationship between public and private savings by analyzing private pension scheme participation in the presence of such policy uncertainty. To do so, I assess the influence of subjective policy change expectations on voluntary pension scheme participation in the Netherlands. I find that participation in private pension schemes is higher for those who assign a high probability to the dismantlement of old age social security – in terms of lower benefits levels but more so in terms of a higher eligibility age. In addition, subjectively short-lived individuals who believe an eligibility age increase to be more likely than a benefit level cut, participate more. This could be explained by the fact that the relative cost of an eligibility age increase is larger for those who expect to live shorter. Individuals hence do prepare themselves for anticipated policy changes in old age social security and policy uncertainty in social security thus seems to lead to an increase in, or crowding in of, private savings.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3623.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3623
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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski & Jordan Heinz, 2003. ""Will Social Security Be There For You?": How Americans Perceive Their Benefits," NBER Working Papers 9798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Bowman & Deborah Minehart & Matthew Rabin, 1994. "Loss aversion in a consumption/savings model," International Finance Discussion Papers 492, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Discussion Papers 96-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1997. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," NBER Working Papers 6193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Euwals, Rob, 2000. "Do Mandatory Pensions Decrease Household Savings? Evidence for the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 113, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Alessandra Guariglia & Sheri Markose, 2000. "Voluntary Contributions to Personal Pension Plans: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 469-488, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1979. "Testing the Theory of Social Security and Life Cycle Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 396-410, June.
  12. Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Loss Expectations, Realizations, and Household Consumption Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 253-269, February.
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