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This chapter discusses what are apt comparisons between ages. It notes the social forces compelling change, in particular increased life expectancy, and considers how these are changing our views about age equality. It reviews the way age discrimination laws work and considers the proposals for new laws.
Many recent pension reforms require individuals to make more decisions on supplementary savings, investment choices, etc. Governments and the pension industry try to assist individuals through pension communication but little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. This paper uses Dutch longitudinal data to analyse the causal links between communication, pension knowledge, and conscious pension decision-making. A robust finding is that pension knowledge has a positive causal effect on active pension decision-making. Providing an annual pension statement might have a small positive effect on pension knowledge, but this result is sensitive to the identifying assumptions.
In this article we estimate the relative contributions to the gender pension gap of career duration and income earned at different points along the pension income distribution, as well as the role played by minimum pensions and other partly or wholly non-contributory policies in reducing this gap. Our research covers all retirees in France in 2012 employed in the public or private sector at least once in their lifetimes. We first highlight that at every point in the distribution, the gender pension gap is wider for private-sector retirees than for those in the public sector. This is because public sector careers are less fragmented and because the calculation of the public sector reference wage does not penalize career interruptions so heavily. This relative advantage of women in the public sector is probably an additional factor explaining their over-representation in this sector. Applying the decomposition method proposed by Firpo et al. (2007, 2009), we show that composition differences in the gender pension gap are essentially due to differences in contribution periods and wages, with a smaller effect of career duration in the public sector than in the private. In the first deciles, the gap can be attributed largely to differences in career duration. This effect gradually weakens, and differences in the reference wage become the main explanation. We also show that minimum contributory pensions play an extremely important role in limiting the gender pension gap in the first deciles, essentially in the private sector. Last, we show that in all cases the unexplained share of the pension gap is substantial only at the bottom of the distribution and, to a lesser extent, in the top decile. The unexplained share is generally smaller than the explained one and favours men.
Unemployment periods and other career breaks have long-term scarring effects on future labour market possibilities, permanently affecting workers' retirement income and standard of living as pensioners. Previous literature has focused on the impact of job loss on working careers with little attention to its impact on pension wealth, particularly the extent to which longevity heterogeneity amplifies unemployment scars. This paper investigates the effect of single and multiple unemployment spells on the lifetime pension entitlements of earnings-related contributory pension schemes, considering the timing and duration of breaks, alternative lifecycle labour earnings profiles, scarring and restoration effects on labour market re-entry, the existence of pension credits and pension accruals for periods spent outside the labour market, longevity heterogeneity, and the accumulation and decumulation redistributive features of the pension scheme. Pension entitlements are estimated using a backward-looking simulation approach based on the actual Portuguese public pension system rules and stylized labour market profiles identified in the SHARE Job Episodes Panel data using a sequence analysis. Longevity heterogeneity is modelled using a stochastic mortality model with a frailty model. Our results show that the timing and duration of unemployment periods is critical, that scarring effects amplify pension wealth losses, that minimum pension provisions, pension credits and pension scheme redistributive features can partially mitigate the impact of unemployment periods on future entitlements, and that the presence of positive correlation between lifetime income and longevity career breaks can amplify the asymmetry in the distribution of pension entitlements across income groups.
This paper used a randomised field experiment to test if tailoring an email invitation induces pension scheme participants to delve into their online personal pension situation. Action perspective and degree of urgency conveyed in the invitation were tailored based on gender and age. Overall, our empirical findings show that such tailoring had no positive effects on (1) the probability that pension scheme participants click on the weblink to access information about their pension situation and (2) the probability to log in to a tool for pension check.
The defined convex combination (DCC) pay-as-you-go public pension systems recently introduced in the literature are a form of hybridization between defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) designed to maintain intergenerational social equitability by reacting to demographic shocks in an optimal way. In this paper, we augment DCC schemes with the assumption that the dependency ratio between pensioners and workers is driven by an exogenously modelled instantaneous stochastic rate of change. This assumption enjoys support from the empirical data and allows explicit solutions for the contribution and replacement rate processes which make transparent the nature of the dynamic evolution of a DCC system, as well as the role of the variables involved. The analysis of intergenerational social equitability measures under the assumption of an instantaneous dependency rate confirms the view expressed in previous literature that neither DB nor DC achieves social fairness, and that DCC plans have the potential to improve on both. We perform a calibration test, and our findings seem to indicate that in ageing economies the DC system might indeed be superior to the DB one in terms of intergenerational fairness.
The transition from defined benefit to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes has increased the interest in target annuitization funds that aim to fund a minimum level of retirement income. Prior literature has studied the optimal investment strategies for DC funds that provide minimum guarantees, but far less attention has been given to portfolio insurance strategies for DC pension funds focusing on retirement income targets. We evaluate the performance of option-based and constant proportion portfolio insurance strategies for a DC fund that targets a minimum level of inflation-protected annuity income at retirement. We show how the portfolio allocation to an equity fund varies depending on the member’s age upon joining the fund, displaying a downward trend through time for members joining the fund before ages in the mid-30s. We demonstrate how both portfolio insurance strategies provide strong protection against downside equity risk in financing a minimum level of retirement income. The option-based strategy generally leads to higher accumulated savings at retirement, whereas the constant proportion strategy provides better downside risk protection robust to equity market jumps/volatilities.
This paper studies an optimal deterministic investment problem for a DC pension plan member with inflation risk. We describe the price processes of the inflation-indexed bond and the stock by a continuous diffusion process and a jump diffusion process with random parameters, respectively. The contribution rate linked to the income of the DC plan member is assumed to be a non-Markovian adapted process. Under the mean-variance criterion, we use Malliavin calculus to derive a characterization for the optimal deterministic investment strategy. In some special cases, we obtain the explicit expressions for the optimal deterministic strategies.
This chapter discusses the impact of institutional investors on the functioning of the financial system. Institutional investors are pooling funds and transferring economic resources to different asset classes and countries. They also transfer resources over time, and contribute to price discovery and thereby increase the efficiency of the financial system. In recent decades, the intermediation of financial assets has gradually shifted from banks to institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, and mutual funds. During this process of re-intermediation, the assets of institutional investors of the EU-15 countries quadrupled from 49 per cent of GDP in 1990 to 223 per cent in 2017. This chapter provides an overview of the growth of institutional investors over the last three decades and documents the development of the main types of institutional investors.
We determine the optimal asset allocation to bonds and stocks using an annually recalculated virtual annuity (ARVA) spending rule for DC pension plan decumulation. Our objective function minimizes downside withdrawal variability for a given fixed value of total expected withdrawals. The optimal asset allocation is found using optimal stochastic control methods. We formulate the strategy as a solution to a Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman (HJB) Partial Integro Differential Equation (PIDE). We impose realistic constraints on the controls (no-shorting, no-leverage, discrete rebalancing) and solve the HJB PIDEs numerically. Compared to a fixed-weight strategy which has the same expected total withdrawals, the optimal strategy has a much smaller average allocation to stocks and tends to de-risk rapidly over time. This conclusion holds in the case of a parametric model based on historical data and also in a bootstrapped market based on the historical data.
This chapter on fringe benefits draws on the theoretical support structure of compensating differentials (Chapter 3), given that workers value fringe benefits (i.e., non-monetary components of pay) and are therefore willing to accept lower monetary pay than they would receive in alternative jobs that do not offer those benefits but that are otherwise identical. The chapter opens with a discussion of workers’ valuations of various fringe benefits and how those valuations may differ from the employers’ costs of providing those benefits. From a managerial standpoint, the main problem with using benefits to compensate workers is inefficiency, in that workers often value those benefits at less than their cash equivalents. Against that disadvantage are a number of advantages of paying workers in benefits, and the chapter covers the main ones. Cafeteria plans mitigate the main disadvantage of benefits compensation while simultaneously weakening some of the advantages. The chapter ends with a lengthy section on pensions that provides a detailed distinction between defined-contribution and defined-benefit plans and the implications for worker behavior (e.g., retirement ages).
This article looks at how retirement timing is changing in Italy. A first aim is descriptive and it is to identify recent trends in retirement age, following the pension reform. Then the focus is on factors which may favour or hinder the extension of the working career of older workers. They are studied by looking at the reasons for retirement, introducing the distinction between voluntary and involuntary retirement, and some predictors of retirement. Some of them relate to the work history of individuals, in particular the stability/instability of careers due to episodes of unemployment. The level of education and gender, two variables that may affect the employability of older workers, have also been considered. The study is based on a longitudinal analysis (Kaplan–Meier survival estimates of transition to retirement and binomial logit discrete-time model for the analysis of retirement predictors) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) Job Episodes Panel data. They refer to a sample of 1,999 individuals born between 1911 and 1959. Although the various pension reforms initiated in Italy in the 1990s have not yet been fully implemented, retirement age is rising, even in the case of involuntary retirement. Regarding work history, the advantages of a working career with a small number of unemployment episodes emerge from the study.
This article examines public attitudes towards two reform options for the defined-contribution (DC) Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme in Hong Kong: (i) increasing MPF contributions; or (ii) introducing a universal pension partly funded by switching MPF contributions to the universal pension. Drawing on a phone survey conducted with 975 active contributors to the MPF, we examine whether agreement with these MPF reform options can be explained by respondents’ self-interest, attachment to different welfare ideologies, their level of confusion with the MPF, uncertainty about future MPF income, and trust in the Hong Kong government to deal with MPF issues. This research identifies that it is uncertainty with future MPF income and low trust in the Hong Kong government to deal with MPF issues that have the most significant effect on respondents’ MPF reform preferences. Mainstream accounts of the effect of liberalist, universalist, conservative, and familistic welfare ideologies are only partially confirmed.
Gollier proposed in 2008 a model for the analysis of pension schemes that is helpful to focus attention on the impact of intergenerational risk sharing and on the role of the participation constraint. He uses the model to analyze the relative attractiveness of a collective scheme with respect to schemes that may be implemented by individuals for themselves. The analysis makes use of an assumption concerning the ownership rights of investment returns realized by generations that are between career start and retirement at the time of the transition from an individual to a collective system. The present paper investigates the consequences of adopting an alternative assumption. In a calibration exercise, the increase of the effective rate of return obtained by switching from an existing ‘autarky’ scheme to an infinite-horizon ‘collective’ scheme is found to be 8 basis points, as opposed to 72 basis points as reported by Gollier. Additionally, the effects are considered of changes in the specification of agents' preferences, aiming to express the specific nature of retirement income provision in the second pillar. The Black–Scholes assumptions are used to model the economic environment, so that many results can be obtained in closed form.
We examine pension-cost crowd out of salary expenditures in the public sector using a 15-year data panel of state teacher pension plans spanning the Great Recession. While there is no evidence of salary crowd out prior to the Great Recession, there is a shift in the post-recession years such that a 1% (of salaries) increase in the annual required pension contribution corresponds to a decrease in total teacher salary expenditures of 0.24%. The effect operates through changes to the size of the teaching workforce, not changes to teacher wages. An explanation for the effect heterogeneity pre- and post-recession is that public employers are less able to shield the workforce from pension costs during times of fiscal stress. This problem is exacerbated because unlike other benefit costs, such as for health care, pension costs are countercyclical.
Due to structural and policy shifts, pension deficit in North Macedonia doubled over a decade and significantly outpaced the central budget deficit. The objective of the paper is to examine fiscal and development effects of few pension-reform designs. We constructed MK-PENS Dynamic Microsimulation Pension Model and simulated the effects of few reforms affecting one stakeholder and few combined reforms. Results robustly suggest that without reform and assuming only statutory pension adjustment, the deficit will remain as is. Simulated scenarios suggest that proposed pension reforms significantly reduce the pension deficit, with the most favourable results obtained within the combined scenarios of shared burden. Gradual introduction of reform's elements should come into play in case large political cost is envisaged.
In recent years, a growing number of capital market professionals have projected a low-return environment in US investment portfolios – where returns in most asset classes are expected to drop below historical rates. While these specific forecasts may not fully materialize, it is natural for cyclical investment markets to go through extended periods of lower returns, creating significant risks for public pension systems which rely on investment returns to sustain their long-term solvency and offset budgetary contributions. This paper uses a simulation method to examine the long-term effect of a low-return environment on the unfunded liabilities and contribution costs of US public pension systems while considering the moderating effects of asset allocation strategies, amortization approaches, and contribution policies.
Defined benefit pension funds invest in illiquid asset classes for return, diversification or liability hedging reasons. So far, little is known about factors influencing how much they invest in illiquid assets. We conjecture that liquidity and capital requirements are pivotal in this decision. Short-term pension payments and margining on derivative contracts generate liquidity requirements, while regulations impose capital requirements. Consistent with our model we empirically find that these requirements create a hump-shaped impact of liability duration on the fraction of risky assets invested in illiquid assets. Further, we report that pension fund size, type, and funding ratio impact illiquid assets allocations.
We examine the investment performance of Chilean pension funds during their multi-fund period (2003–17). Using tradable asset class benchmarks, we extend Sharpe's (1992) return-based style analysis by explicitly considering regulatory restrictions and currency hedging. We find that despite the significant differences between pension fund manager returns, they are statistically similar to our style benchmarks for all fund types. Furthermore, accounting for currency hedging improves the accuracy of the replicating portfolios and the selection return estimates. Our results have policy implications for investment regulation of pension systems with similar characteristics to the Chilean one.