Determinants of Saving for Old Age around the World

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Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers
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old age
financial inclusion
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Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli
Klapper, Leora
Panos, George A

Countries around the world face a retirement crisis brought on by ageing populations, declining birthrates, and fiscal shortfalls. As a result, policymakers increasingly seek to understand retirement savings patterns—a crucial component of the safety net for the elderly. Drawing on the 2014 Global Findex database, which provides individual-level data on the use of financial products in more than 140 countries, we examine how adults save for old age. We find that about 25% of adults worldwide save for old age, with rates exceeding 35% in high-income OECD economies and the East Asia and Pacific region. On average, men are slightly more likely than women to save for this purpose, but the gender gap is deeper in developing countries. Worldwide, saving for old age is more common among older adults, more educated adults, and adults who own accounts. Adults in countries with English or German legal origin, and with high savings rates, are also more likely to save for old age. We also find that measures to increase trust in the financial system—such as deposit insurance—lead to higher rates of saving for old age. Finally, we find no evidence of substitution between pension system provisions and contribution rates with saving for old age.

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The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2016 publication: Retirement System Risk Management (
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