Call for Papers
"Rethinking the Economics of Pensions: Is There a Crisis of Pensions or of Pensions Governance and Regulation?"

March 21-22 2013, Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol Street London

This is notice of a two-day conference organized by the Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network and the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), University of Warwick. We invite submissions, from both academics and practitioners, which address any aspect of the economics of pensions and pensions policy, but particularly those that focus on the questions below.

SPEAKERS: Confirmed speakers so far:
- Nick Barr, London School of Economics
- Tim Jenkinson, Said Business School, Oxford University
- Con Keating, Brighton Rock Group
- Juan Jermo, OECD
- Dennis Leech, Warwick University

Is there a pensions crisis? Issues surrounding pensions, in both private and public sectors, raise major policy questions about economic performance and social stability. The pensions sector has been experiencing problems for many years, but we believe it is open to question whether these amount to the kind of existential crisis some are claiming. Despite changes in regulation and governance that have been made in the last decade, problems continue to worsen and there is a need to reconsider. We believe these issues are too far reaching to be left to professionals within the industry and government, but should also be looked at from a broader economic perspective. The conference will bring together papers reflecting new economic thinking in a dialogue between economists and practitioners, from academia, government and industry.

QUESTIONS: Some of the questions to be discussed might include the following: Regulation of pension schemes has recently been changed to one based on funding, on 'mark-to-market' principles. Is this appropriate in the light of subsequent experience? Has this created a bias towards non-viability and the resulting closure of schemes? Does the system of regulation itself amplify risks? Do the government need to change the regulation and governance of pensions in order to guarantee long term viability? What are the effects of pensions schemes on economic efficiency? Are they an unaffordable barrier to competitiveness? Do pension schemes lead to economic growth by improving productivity? To what extent do pension funds promote efficiency by providing a source of long term investment and the potential for improved corporate governance? Accounting principles provide society with descriptive data that is fundamental to economic activity by firms, individuals and policy makers. How should pensions, in both public and private sectors be accounted? Do the current rules provide an appropriate guide to policy? What are the effects on investment and the implications for economic growth? What are the implications of assuming perfectly efficient markets in the valuation of assets and liabilities? Given the reappraisal of efficient markets theory in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 should we not reappraise its application to pensions also? What are the macro-economic effects of pension policy? Does regulation of funding levels have a procyclical, destabilising effect on the economy, with additional, deflationary, contributions needed when schemes are unfunded in recessionary times? What are the risks facing pension schemes? How should risk be managed? Is there an alternative to the present approach based on funding? What are the economic implications of large numbers of workers not being members of pension schemes? What are the public finance and social welfare implications? What are the distributional effects of existing and future pension schemes, both between individuals and between generations? What are the effects of the level of charges and fees on the efficiency and effectiveness of pension schemes? Comparative international perspective: how are private and state pensions provided in other OECD countries?

PARTICIPATION/PAPER SUBMISSIONS: If you wish to participate, please send us an expression of interest as soon as possible. If you wish to present a paper, please send us the abstract by December 15th. The full paper should be sent by February 15th 2013. Expressions of interest, abstracts and papers should be sent to Shaul David:

Submission of abstracts: December 15th 2012
Final papers: February 15th 2013

Dennis Leech, University of Warwick
Con Keating, Brighton Rock Group
Christopher Sier, Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Group

Posted 8/30/12