18- Pensions and public opinion: a survey among Dutch households

Wetenschappelijke publicatie
Date 2 December 2003

This paper reports on the findings of a survey among Dutch households (as part of the DNB Household Survey in 2003) about many aspects (expectations, concerns, attitude and preferences) of their pensions and the old-age-arrangements in the Netherlands. We explore whether the outcomes are related to specific financial and non-financial household or personal characteristics. A clear majority of the Dutch public expects public pension schemes to be retrenched and rejects reforms that infringe on what they regard as acquired rights. One would rather like to pay higher contributions until the age of 65. The divergence in preferences towards retrenchment measures across generations indicates that intergenerational risk sharing is not something natural. The public prefers to have their pension build-up managed by pension funds and would accept having to pay higher contributions in exchange for guaranteed benefits. Yet, a substantial minority advocates a greater freedom of choice. Surprisingly, this preference for freedom is not linked to particular household characteristics, nor does it reflect the particular interest of those who already have third pillar pension provisions. Many, however, are as yet not concerned about their pension rights, adopting a “we’ll see about that when we come to that” attitude. This manifests itself in a substantial lack of knowledge about one’s own personal pension arrangements, notably for young generations, women, low-skilled workers and people out of work. Key words: public pensions, second pillar pensions, household survey, risk attitude and preferences JEL codes: D12, J26, G23, H55