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Why Forcing People to Save for Retirement May Backfire

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  • Monika Bütler

    ()

  • Olivia Huguenin

    ()

  • Federica Teppa

    ()

Abstract

Early retirement is predominantly considered to be the result of incentives set by social security and the tax system. But the Swiss example demonstrates that the incidence of early retirement has dramatically increased even in the absence of institutional changes. We argue that an actuarially fair, but mandatory funded system may also distort optimal individual allocation. If individuals are credit constraint (or just reluctant to borrow), a higher than desired retirement capital induces people to retire earlier than they would have in the absence of such a scheme. Individuals thus retire as soon as the retirement income is deemed sufficient the pension plan avails withdrawal of benefits. We provide evidence using individual data from a selection of Swiss pension funds, allowing us to perfectly control for pension scheme details. Our findings suggest that affordability is indeed a key determinant in the retirement decisions. The fact that early retirement has become much more prevalent in the last 15 years is a strong indicator for the importance of affordability as the maturing the Swiss mandatory funded pension system over that period has led to an increase in the already high effective replacement rates. Moreover, even after controlling for the time trend, the higher the accumulated pension capital, the earlier men, and - to a smaller extent - women, tend to leave the work force.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Bütler & Olivia Huguenin & Federica Teppa, 2005. "Why Forcing People to Save for Retirement May Backfire," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-09, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2005:2005-09
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. George Kudrna & Alan D. Woodland, 2013. "Macroeconomic and Welfare Effects of the 2010 Changes to Mandatory Superannuation," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(287), pages 445-468, December.
    2. Vincenzo Galasso, 2012. "The Political Feasibility of Postponing Retirement," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(4), pages 27-31, December.
    3. Martin Gonzalez Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Working Papers 72, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jun 2004.
    4. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Clara I. González, 2016. "From Bismarck to Beveridge: the other pension reform in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 461-490, November.
    5. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2005. "Early Retirement and Social Security: A Long Term Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 1571, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:10:y:2012:i:4:p:19074540 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Heidler, Matthias & Raffelhüschen, Bernd & Leifels, Arne, 2006. "Heterogenous life expectancy, adverse selection, and retirement behaviour," FZG Discussion Papers 13, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).

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    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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