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The Retirement Income System and the Risks Faced by Canadian Seniors

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  • Milligan, Kevin
  • Schirle, Tammy

Abstract

In this paper, we use a risk framework to analyze the risks seniors face and discuss the success of Canada’s retirement income system in insuring against these risks. We focus on four types of risk: (i) the risk of low income at the onset of retirement, (ii) longevity risk, (iii) business cycle risk, and (iv) decision-making risk. The research conducted by CLSRN researchers and others leads us to conclude that, overall, Canada’s retirement income system successfully mitigates against most risks facing Canadian seniors. Important gaps remain, however. Some demographic groups remain at higher risk of poverty at the onset of retirement. Risks of longevity and widowhood are not fully insured. Private savings are subject to financial return risk. The complexity of some retirement income programs makes it difficult for seniors to plan their retirement income optimally.

Suggested Citation

  • Milligan, Kevin & Schirle, Tammy, 2013. "The Retirement Income System and the Risks Faced by Canadian Seniors," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-27, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2013-27
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    File URL: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/workingpapers/CLSRN%20Working%20Paper%20no.%20120%20-%20CLSRN%20Retirement%20Program%20Synthesis%20Report.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "Early Retirement Provisions and the Labor Force Behavior of Older Men: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 724-756, October.
    2. Michael Baker & Emily Hanna & Jasmin Kantarevic, 2004. "The Married Widow: Marriage Penalties Matter!," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 634-664, June.
    3. Barr, Nicholas & Diamond, Peter, 2008. "Reforming Pensions: Principles and Policy Choices," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195311303.
    4. Ostrovsky, Yuri & Schellenberg, Grant, 2010. "Pension Coverage and Earnings Replacement Rates Among Canadian Couples," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2010327e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin Milligan & Tammy Schirle, 2014. "Option Value of Disability Insurance in Canada," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 137-178 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Seniors; Retirement; Public Policy; Pensions; Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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