Research on Adequate Pension Provision

The objective of pension provision is to secure an adequate livelihood during retirement. The task of our pension research is to offer versatile and up-to-date information on pensioners’ livelihood and its development.

We assess the livelihood of pensioners and its development based on pensions, available income, subjective experiences, consumption and savings. We compare the livelihood of pensioners to the livelihood of the entire population and the working population and to the pre-retirement income.

In our reviews, we take into account that pension recipients deviate from the rest of the population in terms of, for example, the structure of the overall income, the household size and the consumption habits. Pension recipients are also an internally heterogeneous group: there are high-income, middle-income and small-income pensioners.

To predict the international reform trends of pension provision, we monitor and assess the pension provision and the pension policy development in other countries.

Current research projects

Activating pension reforms and benefit adjustments in European comparison

Aim: In this project, we will focus on recent reforms of European pension systems from the perspective of the active social policy approach. We will describe how reforms aiming at postponing retirement and extending working life have spread and how they are related to actual outcomes, such as the increasing effective retirement age and the employment rates of the elderly.

Realisation: Macro-comparative analysis based on data from the OECD, Eurostat and CWED2.

Schedule: 2016–2019

Researchers: Kati Kuitto (Finnish Centre for Pensions) and Jan Helmdag (University of Greifswald)


Entanglement of collective and individual tendencies in pension security cases of Canada and Finland

Aim:  In this project, we review the collective and individual elements of the Canadian and Finnish pension systems and the recent changes to them relative to the general international development towards more individual pensions.

Realisation:  Our study is based on literature, media coverage and statistics of the Canadian and Finnish pensions systems and their reforms.

Schedule: 2018–2019

Researchers:  Jyri Liukko (Finnish Centre for Pensions), Aaron Doyle (Carleton University), Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen (Tampere University)

History of disability pension and economic difficulties in old-age retirement

Aim: In this research project we investigate how a history of disability pension links to subjective perceptions of economic hardships in old-age retirement. The financial struggles of retirees on an old-age pension have been measures with questions on how difficult they find it to cover grocery, housing, medical and health care expenses. First, we compare retirees on an old-age pension who have a history of disability pension to other recipients of an old-age pension. Second, we examine which retirees with a history of disability pension experience the most financial struggles when on a disability pension. Does age, gender, education or a diagnosis of disability affect their subjective perceptions of financial problems?

Realisation: A questionnaire survey on retirees’ livelihood and economic well-being and related register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Schedule: 2018–2019

Researchers: Anu Polvinen, Mikko Laaksonen, Juha Rantala, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Susan Kuivalainen

Justifying pension reforms in France and Finland

Aim: The aim of this article is to compare how the pension reforms have been justified in France and Finland. We examine the expert reports compiled in preparation of the pension reforms in both countries and how the reform alternatives are validated and justified. The theoretical framework of the article is Thévenot and Boltanski’s theory on justification.

Realisation: The literature used are the expert reports published in France and Finland in preparation for their pension reforms.

Schedule: 2018–2019

Researchers: Niko Väänänen, Jyri Liukko

Knowledge and trust

Aim:  In this project, we examine the connection between the Finnish population’s knowledge of and trust in the pension system. We look at the data both from the point of view of a subjective self-evaluation and a more objective knowledge of the basics of the pension system. The material allows for a more detailed analysis of the subjective and objective knowledge.

Realisation:  We use the data of the Pension Barometer Survey.

Schedule: 2017–2019

Researchers:  Sanna Tenhunen, Susan Kuivalainen

Livelihood and well-being of retirees

Aim: The aim of this project is to conduct an extensive questionnaire survey directed at retirees in order to produce up-to-date and versatile data on the livelihood and well-being of pension recipients. Our study will review the livelihood of retirees and related issues, including housing, employment, health, the use of social and health services and care by next-of-kin.

Realisation: Survey conducted by the Finnish Centre for Pensions to retirees, combined with register data

Schedule: 2017–2019

Researchers: Kati Ahonen, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Susan Kuivalainen, Anu Polvinen, Jyri Liukko, Satu Nivalainen, Noora Järnefelt


Low income of retired men and women

Aim: Prolonged poverty is more common among retirees than the rest of the population. In addition, it is a clearly larger problem among elderly women than men. On the other hand, the poverty of retired men has increased much more than retired women in the 2000s. In this study, we examine the reason for this development.

Realisation: The target group of our study is a 10-per-cent follow-up sample of all retirees from 1995 to 2012. There is abundant information on all sample individuals for this period.

Schedule: 2017–2018

Researchers: Juha Rantala, Susan Kuivalainen (Finnish Centre for Pensions),  Marjo Pyy-Martikainen (Kela), Marja Riihelä (VATT Institute for Economic Research)

Microsimulation of future pensions

Aim: In this project, we will use microsimulation to calculate an individual’s future pension. The ELSI model is a multi-dimensional simulation of the population. One of the most important dimensions is the supporting of pension recipients well into the future in a world full of risks. Another important dimension is the simulation of retired people in various labour market statuses. The third important dimension is the creation of labour market transfers and entries for others than those who are about to retire. In addition to the status transfers, we will use the simulation model to calculate earnings-related pensions, pensions paid by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland and income taxation. To support the modelling, we will conduct special studies on certain issues, including family formation, testing the results of the microsimulation and earnings development.

Realisation: Our work will consist of modelling based on the research register of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and data of Statistics Finland.

Schedule: 2012–2019

Researchers: Heikki Tikanmäki, Janne Salonen


Pension barometer

Aim: To examine, first, how well Finnish people know about pensions and second, their opinions about how pension provision is implemented. The study also focuses on changes in the level of knowledge over time and between demographic groups.

Realisation: Annual telephone interviews from 2017 to 2021 with 1,000 persons between the ages of 17 and 79 years who live on mainland Finland.

Schedule: 2017–2021

Researchers: Mikko Kautto and Susan Kuivalainen

Publications: Pension barometer 2017 , 2018 (in Finnish only)

Pension rights and benefits in international comparison

Aim: In this study, we will analyse trends in the generosity of earning-related public and mandatory private pensions in European and OECD countries from 1995 to 2010. We will explain changes in levels and eligibility criteria for pension benefits by political, institutional and international approaches by means of time-series-cross-section regression modelling.

Realization: Macro-comparative statistical analysis based on CWED2, OECD and Parties, Institutions and Preferences (PIP) data sets.

Schedule: 2016–2019

Researchers: Kati Kuitto (Finnish Centre for Pensions), Lyle Scruggs (University of Connecticut), Detlef Jahn and Jan Helmdag (University of Greifswald)

Retirees on an old-age pension and income support

Aim: In this project, we examine retirees on an old-age pension as recipients of income support. We investigate how often retirees apply for the income support and what type of retirees apply for this benefit. In addition, we analyse decisions on income support applications and, in particular, the share of rejected decisions and the reason for the high rejection rate.

Realisation: Kela’s theme book on the transfer of the income support to Kela and the new income support system. The dataset are the income support registers of Kela.

Schedule: 2018–2019

Researchers: Minna Ylikännö (Kela), Susan Kuivalainen (Finnish Centre for Pensions)

Self-employment, income and pension insurance of the self-employed

Aim:  In this project, we examine the nature of self-employment, the income of the self-employed and pension insurance for the self-employed from various different points of view. Among other things, we examine what the self-employed think of pensions and how much they know about pension insurance. We also examine how the self-employed have combined paid work and self-employment. Finally, we also examine how the self-employed view retirement and what kind of work intentions (for example, working while drawing a pension) they have towards the end of their working life.

Realisation:  The data consists of an Ad Hoc module on self-employment collected in connection with the 2017 Labour Force Survey. Descriptive and econometric analysis.

Schedule:  Autumn 2018 – 2019

Researchers:  Satu Nivalainen, Sanna Tenhunen, Juha Rantala, Janne Salonen

Short-sighted self-employed persons pay too little pension contribution: Trajectory analysis of incomes

Aim: In this study, we examine the reasons for the low confirmed income and pensions of the self-employed and professionals. The review is based on the Finnish Centre for Pensions’ data on the supervision of insurance under the Self-employed Persons’ Pensions Act from 2012 to 2015. Using trajectory analysis, we present an overview of self-employed persons who behave in different ways in relation to this issue.

Realization: Study based on register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and the Tax Administration.

Schedule: 2017–2019

Researcher: Janne Salonen (Finnish Centre for Pensions), Lasse Koskinen and Tapio Nurmi (Tampere University)

Views on pensions

Aim: In this project, we outline Finnish citizens opinions and views on pensions. We also examine how Finns have prepared themselves financially for retirement and what their knowledge and views on pensions are after the 2017 pension reform.

Realisation: Questionnaire survey sent to 5,000 randomly selected 25-67-year-old Finnish citizens. The dataset will be supplemented with register data. The privacy statement (in Finnish) is applied to the processing of personal data.

Schedule: 2019–2021

Researchers: Sanna Tenhunen, Jyri Liukko, Juha Rantala, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Susan Kuivalainen (Finnish Centre for Pensions)