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Measuring and explaining implicit risk sharing in defined benefit pension funds

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This article investigates responses to changes in solvency by occupational pension funds using a unique panel data set containing the balance sheets of all registered pension funds in the Netherlands over a period of 13 years (1993–2005). A fixed discount rate for liabilities in the supervisory framework allows us to measure the response of pension funds to solvency shocks. We find that pension rights are expanded, by e.g. indexation, or limited, by for instance setting the pension premium over its actuarially fair price, in line with the funding ratio but that the pension funds’ response function exhibits two sharp and significant behavioural breaks, close to the minimum funding ratio of 105% and the target ratio of around 125%. We further find that large funds and grey funds are relatively generous to current participants.

Keywords: G23; G28; defined benefit pension funds; funding ratio; indexation; recovering behaviour; risk sharing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Supervisory Policy Division, Strategy Department, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), NL-1000 AB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2: Netspar,

Publication date: 2014-06-13

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