, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 865–895 | Cite as

New figures on unfunded public pension entitlements across Europe: concept, results and applications

  • Klaus Kaier
  • Christoph Müller
Original Paper


A major aim of the recent updates of National Accounting standards (SNA2008 and ESA2010) is to provide a more complete picture of households’ wealth. In this course it will become mandatory for European countries to publish annual estimates of unfunded public pension entitlements (UPPE) from 2017 onwards. This study describes the methodological concepts behind this new figure of national accounts. After a review of past studies we provide a large cross-country comparison for 18 EU countries and discuss a number of possible applications for policy makers and researchers. This includes the measurement of changes in pension obligations due to 2nd pillar pension reforms—observed recently in a number of Central and Eastern European countries. Also the use for estimating the offset between unfunded pension entitlements and savings rates (Feldstein in J Polit Econ 82:905–926, 1974) is discussed. Finally, we show the distribution of households’ wealth across Europe including financial wealth, dwellings and UPPE. With respect to the pre-financial crisis year 2006, our data indicate that taking these three wealth categories into account many differences between countries with Beveridgean and Bismarckian pension systems as well as between western and central eastern European countries are eliminated.


Households’ wealth Pension liabilities Pension entitlements Household saving 

JEL Classification

E21 H55 H63 

Supplementary material

10663_2015_9285_MOESM1_ESM.docx (422 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 421 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public FinanceFreiburg UniversityFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Center for Medical Biometry and Medical InformaticsUniversity Medical Center FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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