"Retirement Consumption and Pension Design" - Johannes Spinnewijn, London School of Economics (Joint with The Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies)

May 2, 1:20 pm2:35 pm
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building, Rm 217 and via Zoom
Event Description

Johannes Spinnewijn is a Professor of Economics at The London School of Economics. Johannes research interest include, Public Economics, Social Insurance, Behavioral Economics, and Health Economics.

Johannes Spinnewijn will be presenting in person. Viewers may also attend via Zoom.


This paper develops and implements a framework that leverages consumption data to evaluate the welfare effects of pension reforms. Several countries have reformed their pension profiles to incentivize later retirement. Using administrative data in Sweden, we find that such pension reforms entail substantial consumption smoothing costs. On average, individuals retiring later have higher consumption levels than those retiring earlier, implying that recent pension reforms redistributed from low- to high-consumption households. We show that the differences in retirement consumption are mostly driven by differential changes in consumption around retirement, and also that the marginal propensities to consume are the lowest for late retirees. Accounting for selection on health and life expectancy further increases the redistributive cost of recent reforms. The cost of incentivizing later retirement is, however, lowest between the early and normal retirement age, where we document a striking non-monotonicity in consumption levels. We find similar patterns in consumption data from other countries, including the non-monotonicity, suggesting our findings are not unique to Sweden.