Implicit pension debt and credit rating. International comparison of implicit pension debts with particular focus on the Netherlands

  • Kamiel van Langen Kamiel van Langen

This paper investigates pension systems from an international perspective. Special attention will be paid on implicit pension debt and implicit tax asset. The paper will zoom in on the case of the Netherlands. Both implicit pension debt and implicit tax asset are modeled in a general cashflow model that could serve as a framework for other countries. A simulation study is applied to calculate the value of implicit pension debt and tax asset and to quantifyrisks involved in these promises. Applying risk neutral valuation techniques to value implicit pension claims is new. The Dutch government seems to bear severe risks in their pensionpolicy. Outcomes are shown to be critically dependent on assumptions and policies. Subsequently, thirteen countries are compared according to their pension system. This paper argues that implicit debt should be included in assessment of credit worthiness of a country.The credit worthiness of Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, UK and USA would be better when the pension system is included in nancial health analysis. These aging related risks are hidden for long-term investors. Interviews with credit rating agenciesreveal that these agencies do not take pension systems into account for three reasons. The short horizon which is typically between one and ve years, lack of data to measure pension systems and government’s ability for parametric reform and thereby reducing pension expenses. On the other hand the agencies agree on the urge to include aging related variables in their analysis.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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