The displacement effect of compulsory pension savings on private savings. Evidence from the Netherlands, using pension funds supervisory data

We show heterogenous displacement effects of mandatory occupational pension savings on private household wealth for different groups. Richer households in particular show larger displacements. This contributes to explaining why empirical studies often come with different estimates of this effect. We study the case of the Netherlands, where wage employed and self-employed workers are differently exposed to compulsory pension savings, and the institutional setting provides exogenous variation in pension wealth that can be used as instrument in the analysis. We use rich administrative data on (pension) wealth and income combined for the first time to supervisory data of pension funds. Our results show a displacement effect of − 37% for wage employed and of − 61% to − 77% for self-employed people. The higher displacement effect we find for the self-employed might be explained by the fact that self-employed workers are arguably more aware of their pension accrual, or lack thereof, because there is no employer who organizes and (partly) pays this for them.

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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