Pension information and retirement planning in France: An evaluation of public policy

Households will have to increase their retirement-related assets to face the consequences of pension reforms and/or increasing longevity. Thus, improving retirement planning seems then to be necessary. However, the literature reports a general lack of awareness and understanding of the pension system. Transferring information on pensions to households has been identified as a way for governments to increase the public understanding. In 2007, France began mailing out personalized annual Statements that provided estimates of an individual’s pension benefit. Using the French data of the European survey SHARE, we will assess the effectiveness of the pension information initiative if the statement contribute that workers are better informed about their pension benefits and if it changed their assets accumulation behavior. We have concluded that such pension policy has an impact on the wealthiest households who are able to integrate information and to put it into action. Conversely, this policy does not take the most vulnerable population into consideration and fails to fulfill its main objective: encourage households with little private savings to better prepare the retirement. This population does not seem able to save more after having received the pension statement. Consequently, the implementation of the pension information right generates or increases inequalities.

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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