Panel Paper: The Effect of Public Pension Wealth on Saving and Expenditure: Evidence from Poland's 1999 Pension Reform

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 1:45 PM
Santa Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Marta Lachowska, W.E. Upjohn Institute
In order to study whether public pension systems displace private saving, we use the quasi-experimental variation in pension wealth created by Poland’s 1999 pension reform. The reform decreased pension generosity overall, but it had a differential effect on individuals depending on their year of birth. Using the 1997–2003 Polish Household Budget Surveys, we begin by estimating "difference-in-differences" regressions, where we compare household saving and expenditure across time and between cohorts affected and unaffected by the reform. Next, we use the post-reform change in pension wealth to estimate the extent of saving crowd-out and consumption crowd-in. Using two-stage least squares, we identify the effect of pension wealth on private saving by using the cohort-by-time variation in pension wealth that is explained by the reform. We find that one additional Polish zloty, or PLN, of pension wealth crowds out about 0.24 PLN in household saving, while one additional PLN of pension wealth crowds in about 0.21 PLN in household consumption. We also find heterogeneity in responses. For the middle-aged cohorts, we find a large crowd-out of saving (about 0.54), while the crowd-out for younger cohorts equals about 0.30. We find evidence of close to complete crowd-out among highly educated households.