Year of publication
- Lifecycle impacts of the financial and economic crisis on household optimal consumption, portfolio choice, and labor supply (2011)
- The direct financial impact of the financial crisis has been to deal a heavy blow to investment-based pensions; many workers lost a substantial portion of their retirement saving. The financial sector implosion produced an economic crisis for the rest of the economy via high unemployment and reduced labor earnings, which reduced household contributions to Social Security and some private pensions. Our research asks which types of individuals were most affected by these dual financial and economic shocks, and it also explores how people may react by changing their consumption, saving and investment, work and retirement, and annuitization decisions. We do so with a realistically calibrated lifecycle framework allowing for time-varying investment opportunities and countercyclical risky labor income dynamics. We show that households near retirement will reduce both short- and long-term consumption, boost work effort, and defer retirement. Younger cohorts will initially reduce their work hours, consumption, saving, and equity exposure; later in life, they will work more, retire later, consume less, invest more in stocks, save more, and reduce their demand for private annuities. Keywords: Financial Crisis , Household Finance , Cycle Portfolio Choice , Labor Supply Classification: D1, G11, G23, G35, J14, J26, J32
- Welche Sicherheit und Rendite bietet die kapitalgedeckte Alterssicherung? : Zu Möglichkeiten der Risikoabschätzung (2003)
- Der "Generationenvertrag" der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung hat die Grenzen seiner Leistungsfähigkeit erreicht. Damit ist die "erste Säule" der Alterssicherung, die auf diesem Umlageverfahren basiert, ins Wanken geraten. Schuld daran ist die zunehmende Überalterung der Gesellschaft, aber auch die anhaltend hohe Arbeitslosigkeit, die zu enormen Beitragsausfällen führt. Schon heute sind die Rentenzahlungen nur noch zu rund 75 Prozent durch die Sozialversicherungsbeiträge der arbeitenden Bevölkerung gedeckt, der Rest muss – ähnlich wie bei den Beamtenpensionen – aus dem allgemeinen Steueraufkommen finanziert werden. Das birgt vor allem für die jungen Beitragszahler substanzielle Risiken. Angesichts dieser Perspektiven sind immer weniger junge Menschen bereit, steigende Rentenbeiträge bei stetig sinkenden Leistungen zu akzeptieren. Kann die kapitalgedeckte Alterssicherung diese Defizite auffangen? Wie lassen sich die vielfältigen Konzepte der privaten Alterssicherung bewerten?
- Money in motion: dynamic portfolio choice in retirement (2007)
- Retirees confront the difficult problem of how to manage their money in retirement so as to not outlive their funds while continuing to invest in capital markets. We posit a dynamic utility maximizer who makes both asset location and allocation decisions when managing her retirement financial wealth and annuities, and we prove that she can benefit from both the equity premium and longevity insurance in her retirement portfolio. Even without bequests, she will not fully annuitize; rather, her optimal stock allocation amounts initially to more than half of her financial wealth and declines with age. Welfare gains from this strategy can amount to 40 percent of financial wealth (depending on risk parameters and other resources). In practice, it turns out that many retirees will do almost as well by purchasing a variable annuity invested 60/40 in stocks/bonds. JEL Classification: G11, G23, G22, D14, J26, H55
- The victory of hope over Angst? : Funding, asset allocation, and risk-taking in german public sector pension reform (2007)
- Public employee pension systems throughout the developed world have traditionally been of the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) defined benefit (DB) variety, where pensioner payments are financed by taxes (contributions) levied on the working generation. But as the number of retirees rises relative to the working-age group, such systems have begun to face financial distress. This trend has been exacerbated in many countries, among them Germany, by high unemployment rates producing further deterioration of the contribution base. In the long run, public sector pension benefits will have to be cut or contributions increased, if the systems are to be maintained. An alternative path sometimes offered to ease the crunch of paying for public employee pensions is to move toward funding: here, plan assets are gradually built up, invested, and enhanced returns devoted to partly defray civil servants’ pension costs. In this study, we evaluate the impact of introducing partial prefunding, paired with a strategic investment policy for the German federal state of Hesse. The analysis assesses the impact of introducing a supplementary tax-sponsored pension fund whose contributions are invested in the capital market and used to relieve the state budget from (some) pension payments. Our model determines the expectation and the Conditional Value-at-Risk of economic pension costs using a stochastic simulation process for pension plan assets. This approach simultaneously determines the optimal contribution rate and asset allocation that controls the expected economic costs of providing the promised pensions, while at the same time controlling investment risk. Specifically, we offer answers to the following questions: 1. How can the plan be designed to control cash-flow shortfall risk, so as to mitigate the potential burden borne by future generations of taxpayers? 2. What is the optimal asset allocation for this fund as it is built up, to generate a maximum return while simultaneously restricting capital market and liability risk? 3. What are reasonable combinations of annual contribution rates and asset allocation to a state-managed pension fund, which will limit costs of providing promised public sector pensions? We anticipate that this research will interest several sorts of policymaker groups. First, focusing on the German case, the state and Federal governments should find it relevant, as these entities face considerable public sector pension liabilities. Second, our findings will also be of interest to other European countries, as most have substantial underfunded defined benefit plans for civil servants. In what follows, we first offer a brief description of the structure of civil servant pensions in Germany, focusing on their benefit formulas, their financing, and the resulting current as well as future plan obligations for taxpayers. Next, we turn to an analysis of the actuarial status of the Hesse civil servants’ pension plan and evaluate how much would have to be contributed to fund this plan in a nonstochastic context. Subsequently we evaluate the asset-liability and decision-making process from the viewpoint of the plan sponsor, to determine sensible plan asset allocation behavior. A final section summarizes findings and implications.
- How unobservable bond positions in retirement accounts affect asset allocation (2007)
- Many tax-codes around the world allow for special taxable treatment of savings in retirement accounts. In particular, profits in retirement accounts are usually tax exempt which allow investors to increase an asset’s return by holding it in such a retirement account. While the existing literature on asset location shows that risk-free bonds are usually the preferred asset to hold in a retirement account, we explain how the tax exemption of profits in retirement accounts affects private investors’ asset allocation. We show that total final wealth can be decomposed into what the investor would have earned in a taxable account and what is due to the tax exemption of profits in the retirement account. The tax exemption of profits can thus be considered a tax-gift which is similar to an implicit bond holding. As this tax-gift’s impact on total final wealth decreases over time, so does the investor’s equity exposure. JEL Classification Codes: G11, H24
- Asset meltdown : fact or fiction? (2006)
- This paper analyzes the relation between demographic structure and real asset returns on treasury bills, bonds and stocks for the G7-countries (United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany). A macroeconomic multifactor model is used to examine a variety of different demographic factors from 1951 to 2002. There was no robust relationship found between shocks in demographic variables and asset returns in the framework of these models, which suggests that Asset Meltdown is rather fiction than fact. G12 (Asset Pricing), G15 (International Financial Markets), J14 (Economics of the Elderly)
- Proof that it is not always optimal to locate bonds in a tax-deferred account (2006)
- The tax codes in many countries allow for special tax advantages for investments in special retirement plans. Probably the most important advantage to these plans is that profits usually remain untaxed. This paper deals with the question, which assets are preferable in a taxdeferred account (TDA). Contrary to the conventional wisdom that one should prefer bonds in the TDA, it is shown that especially in early years, stocks can be the preferred asset to hold in the TDA for an investor maximizing final wealth, given a certain asset allocation. The higher the performance of stocks compared to bonds, the higher the tax burden put on stocks compared to bonds. Simultaneously, the longer the remaining investment horizon, the larger the relative outperformance of the optimal asset location strategy compared to the myopic strategy of locating bonds in the TDA. An algorithm is provided to determine the investment strategy that maximizes (expected) funds at the end of a given investment horizon when there is an analytical solution.
- Konstruktion transaktionsbasierter Immobilienindizes : theoretische Grundlagen und empirische Umsetzung für den Wohnungsmarkt in Paris (2001)
- Der vorliegende Beitrag zeigt auf, wie hedonische Preisindizes für Immobilien auf der Basis von Transaktionen berechnet werden können. Der Heterogenität der Immobilien wird dabei durch ein ökonometrisches Modell Rechnung getragen, wobei in dieser Arbeit das Problem der Wahl einer geeigneten Funktionsform durch eine Transformation nach dem Ansatz von Box/Cox (1964) explizit berücksichtigt wird. Die Datenbasis deckt etwa 65% der Transaktionen des Wohnungsmarktes im Zeitraum 1990-1999 ab. Die Korrektur aufgrund unvollständiger Angaben führt zu einem Datensatz von 84 686 Transaktionen. Dieser Datensatz ist ein Vielfaches dessen, was bisher vergleichbaren Studien zugrunde lag und stellt damit eine international einmalige Datengrundlage dar.
- Optimal gradual annuitization : quantifying the costs of switching to annuities (2007)
- We compute the optimal dynamic asset allocation policy for a retiree with Epstein-Zin utility. The retiree can decide how much he consumes and how much he invests in stocks, bonds, and annuities. Pricing the annuities we account for asymmetric mortality beliefs and administration expenses. We show that the retiree does not purchase annuities only once but rather several times during retirement (gradual annuitization). We analyze the case in which the retiree is restricted to buy annuities only once and has to perform a (complete or partial) switching strategy. This restriction reduces both the utility and the demand for annuities. JEL Codes: D91 G11 G22 H55 J26
- Inflation risk analysis of European real estate securities (2002)
- The focus of this article is the analysis of the inflation risk of European real estate securities. Following both a causal and a final understanding of risk, the analysis is twofold. First, to examine the causal influence of inflation on short- and long-term asset returns, different regression approaches are employed based on the methodology of Fama and Schwert (1977). Hedging capacities against expected inflation are found only for German open-end funds. Secondly, different shortfall risk measures are used to study whether an investment in European real estate securities protects against a negative real return at the end of a given investment period.