How People React to Pension Risk

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 05/20

Date: April 2020

Author(s):

Nicolás Salamanca
Andries de Grip
Olaf Sleijpen

Abstract

We show that people exposed to greater pension risk are less likely to invest in risky assets. We exploit a reform that links people’s future pension benefits to their pension funds’ funding ratio—a measure of the fund’s financial health—making funding ratios a fund-specific measure of pension risk. The effect of pension risk is stronger for people who are better informed about their pensions, for retirees and pension-age non-retirees, and for wealthier people. The funding ratio does not affect investments in a pre-reform period, nor does it affect bequest intentions, (expected) retirement, or the motivations for saving.

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