07 Feb 2014

The Crowding-out Effect of Mandatory Labour Market Pension Schemes on Private Savings: Evidence from renters in Denmark

Søren Arnberg / Mikkel Barslund

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This paper aims to estimate the crowding-out effect of the Danish mandatory labour market pension reforms begun in 1993 on the level of total household savings for renters. The effect is identified via a large panel of individual administrative records utilising the differences in speed, timing and sectoral coverage of the implementation of the reform in the period 1997 to 2005. Little substitutability was found between current mandatory labour market pension savings and private voluntary savings. Each euro paid into mandatory labour market pension accounts results in a reduction in private savings of approximately 0 to 30 cents, depending on age. This low rate of substitution is only, to a minor extent, explained by liquidity constraints. The results point to mandatory pension savings having a large effect on total household savings. Thus, pension reforms that introduce mandatory savings have macroeconomic implications.

Søren Arnberg (sar@dors.dk) is a Senior Economist at the Danish Economic Councils (www.dors.dk). Mikkel Barslund (mikkel.barslund@ceps.eu) is a Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (www.ceps.eu) and a former Senior Economist at the Danish Economic Councils.