Professor of Finance
The authors study how the introduction of a defined contribution market based retirement system affects the propensity of the investor to participate in the stock market.By using data on the "Swedish experiment", the authors focus on the decision to invest directly in stocks and they see how it changes once the households are allowed to participate to the new pension system. The authors show that, the introduction of the possibility to invest in retirement funds increases the probability of stock market participation. That is, an individual that did not participate in the stock market has a higher probability of entering it once he has been presented with the new pension scheme.Moreover, the individuals who are more likely to enter the stock market are the ones who make a deliberate portfolio choice for the retirement money. This finding is not consistent with investors perceiving the investment in retirement accounts as a close substitute to investment in equity.Quite the contrary, it suggests that being induced to choose among different pension funds does "educate" the individual, inducing him to participate in the stock market.