Investing for the Old Age: Pensions, Children and Savings
Econpubblica Working Paper No. 138
31 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2009
Date Written: December 5, 2008
In the last century most countries have experienced both an increase in pension spending and a decline in fertility, We argue that the interplay of pension generosity and development of capital markets is crucial to understand fertility decisions. Since children have traditionally represented for parents a form of retirement saving, particularly in economies with limited or non-existent capital markets, an exogenous increase of pension spending provides a saving technology alternative to children, thus relaxing financial (saving) constraints and reducing fertility. We build a simple two-period OLG model to show that an increase in pensions is associated with a larger decrease in fertility in countries in which individuals have less access to financial markets. Cross-country regression analysis support our result: an interaction between various measures of pension generosity and a proxy for the development of financial markets consistently enters the regressions positively and significantly, suggesting that in economies with limited financial markets, children represent a (if not the only) way for parents to save for old age, and that increases in pensions amount effectively to relaxing these constraints.
Keywords: PAYG pension systems, fertility, financial markets, intergenerational
JEL Classification: H55, J13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation