What drives pension worries in Europe? A multilevel analysis

Nations in Europe have been developing rapidly since the formation of the European Union (EU), not only socially and demographically, but economically as well. One question a number of countries will face during this period of structural transition will be how (and howwell) they are able to support their citizens in old age. A related question involves whether individuals worry about their financial future in retirement, and the extent to which they takeactive steps to save in order to ensure an adequate standard of living. In this study, we analyze data from the third wave of the European Social Survey, which represents 22,609 working adults from 23 countries in Europe. We used multilevel modelling to focus on the explanatory factors that underlie individual and country-level effects in future pension worry and saving behavior. Findings suggest that once individual-level dimensions are taken into account,country-level predictors explain appreciable variance in worry, but not saving practices.Pension worries are more severe in countries with a low retirement age and a strong projected increase in future population aging. This suggests that the drive toward raising the retirement age in a number of EU countries may alleviate some of the worries of its citizens.

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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