Automatic indexation of the pension age to life expectancy: When policy design matters

Mercedes Ayuso, Jorge M. Bravo, Robert Holzmann, Edward Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Increasing retirement ages in an automatic or scheduled way with increasing life expectancy at retirement is a popular pension policy response to continuous longevity improvements. The question addressed here is: to what extent is simply adopting this approach likely to fulfill the overall goals of policy? To shed some light on the answer, we examine the policies of four countries that have recently introduced automatic indexation of pension ages to life expectancy–The Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and Slovakia. To this end, we forecast an alternative period and cohort life expectancy measures using a Bayesian Model Ensemble of heterogeneous stochastic mortality models comprised of parametric models, principal component methods, and smoothing approaches. The approach involves both the selection of the model confidence set and the determination of optimal weights. Model-averaged Bayesian credible prediction intervals are derived accounting for various stochastic process, model, and parameter risks. The results show that: (i) retirement ages are forecasted to increase substantially in the coming decades, particularly if a constant period in retirement is targeted; (ii) retirement age policy outcomes may substantially deviate from the policy goal(s) depending on the design adopted and its implementation; and (iii) the choice of a cohort over period life expectancy measure matters. In addition, the distributional issues arising with the increasing socio-economic gap in life expectancy remain largely unaddressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number96
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Bayesian Model Ensemble
  • Forecasting
  • Heterogeneity
  • Life expectancy
  • Pension policy
  • Retirement age
  • Stochastic mortality models


Dive into the research topics of 'Automatic indexation of the pension age to life expectancy: When policy design matters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this