The value and risk of defined contribution pension schemes: International evidence

We use historical data on investment returns and labour income from sixteen countries to quantify the value and risk of defined contribution pension plans, building frequency distributions of pension fund and pension replacement ratios for each country. We show that pension risk is substantial, and find that pension fund ratios are lower and less variable than when the correlation between wage growth and investment returns is ignored: typically halving the median pension fund ratio. We also show that an all-equity fund is the dominant investment strategy across all countries, although sometimes a life-cycle strategy insures against downside risk.

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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