Liquidity in Retirement Savings Systems: An International Comparison

13 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015

See all articles by John Beshears

John Beshears

Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James J. Choi

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joshua Hurwitz

Boston College - Center for Retirement Research

David Laibson

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Brigitte C. Madrian

Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2015

Abstract

What is the socially optimal level of liquidity in a retirement savings system? Liquid retirement savings are desirable because liquidity enables agents to flexibly respond to pre-retirement events that raise the marginal utility of consumption. On the other hand, pre-retirement liquidity is undesirable when it leads to under-saving arising from, for example, planning mistakes or self-control problems. This paper compares the liquidity that six developed economies have built into their employer-based defined contribution (DC) retirement savings systems. We find that all of them, with the sole exception of the United States, have made their DC systems overwhelmingly illiquid before age 55.

Suggested Citation

Beshears, John and Choi, James J. and Hurwitz, Joshua and Laibson, David I. and Madrian, Brigitte C., Liquidity in Retirement Savings Systems: An International Comparison (May 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21168. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2607358

John Beshears (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

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James J. Choi

Yale School of Management ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Joshua Hurwitz

Boston College - Center for Retirement Research ( email )

Boston, MA
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David I. Laibson

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Brigitte C. Madrian

Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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