The effectiveness of pension communication on pension related decision making

  • Steven Debets Steven Debets

In this paper the effectiveness of pension communication on pension decision behavior is investigated. Empirical evidence is presented that shows that pension communication indirectly increases the chance on an active pension decision. We evaluated the effectiveness of the Dutch pension statement and found that receiving the statement increases individuals’ active pension behavior, mediated by pension literacy and the feeling of being informed. We showed, using Granger causality, that an increase in pension literacy and the feeling of being informed both increase active decision behavior. To our knowledge, this is the first paper that examines, by using panel data, the mechanism of how communication affects pension behavior. These fi ndings show that communication is an effective tool to improve active behavior. However, policy makers should be more concerned with increasing longstanding pension literacy and individuals’ feeling of being informed. We suggest that targeted communication to different socio-economic groups might increase the effectiveness of pension communication, nevertheless policy makers should be careful
with these interventions because of the potentially detrimental effects of individuals who feel over-informed.

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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