Designing public pension schemes
Chaired by Matthias Wrede, a lovely session with great contributions from Veronika Püschel (joint work with Fabian Kindermann) and Luisa Wallossek from LMU Munich. We preseted our paper on incentivizing old age savings in setups with incomplete rationality.
Financing consumption of the elderly in the face of the projected increase in life expectancy is a key challenge for economic policy. Moreover, standard structural models with fully rational agents suggest that about 50-60 percent of old-age consumption is financed with voluntary savings, even in the presence of a fairly generous public pension system. This is clearly inconsistent with either the data, or the alarming simulations of old-age poverty in the years to come. Old-age saving (OAS) schemes are widely used policy instruments to address this challenge, but structural evaluations of such instruments remain rare. We develop a framework with incompletely rational agents: lacking financial literacy and experiencing commitment difficulties. We study a broad selection of OAS schemes and find that they raise welfare of financially illiterate agents and to a lesser extent improve welfare of agents with a high degree of time inconsistency. They also reduce the incidence of poverty at old age. Unfortunately, these instruments are fiscally costly, induce considerable crowd-out and direct fiscal transfers mostly to those agents, who need it the least.