Is information overrated? Evidence from the pension domain

This paper presents empirical evidence from the Netherlands indicating that the current policy based on information is unlikely to help people make the pension choices required in a system in which employees are the ultimate bearers of asset market risk.This holds even if information is made easier to understand, disseminated by the relevant media, and provided made to measure. The paper offers a behavioral explanation of the findings and concludes that policy makers, financial supervisors, and the pension industry should adopt alternative instruments for helping employees makegood choices. These strategies may be useful in the context of recent proposals for a structural change of the pension system, including the increase in the eligibility age for the first layer pension (AOW).

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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