Areas of research

  • Understanding pensions and pension knowledge 
  • Citizens’ perceptions of and trust in pensions 
  • Insuring self-employed persons


In my research, I examine pension system phenomena both from an individual point of view and, more widely, in terms of their effects reflected on the pension system.  Recently, I have researched the significance of knowledge and skills underlying the trust in pension decisions, the effects of the incentives and the entire pension system. I have studied economics and public finances, in which I have a Ph.D. from the University of Tampere (2007).  

Ongoing research projects

In this study we outline Finnish citizens’ opinions and views on pensions and the reliability and future outlooks of the pension system. In addition, we examine Finns’ assessments of their retirement income and how they have prepared themselves financially for retirement. We also outline how much they know about pensions and of the impacts of the 2017 pension reform and how these impacts may affect retirement.

The study is based on a questionnaire survey sent to 5,000 randomly selected 25–67-year-old Finnish citizens. The dataset is supplemented with register data. The privacy statement (in Finnish) is applied to the processing of personal data.

Schedule: 2019–2021

Researchers: Sanna Tenhunen, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Jyri Liukko, Juha Rantala, Susan Kuivalainen

The aim of this book is to offer an extensive description of the investment operations in the Finnish earnings-related pension system, related regulations and supervision and their development. The book is a collection of articles written by experts in the pension field. In addition to practical investment operations and factors relating to supervision, the articles also explore the backgrounds of investment regulations and supervision. The book follows the path of Työeläkevarat ja eläkkeiden rahoitus [Pension assets and pension financing] by versatilely emphasising factors relating to pension financing and pension investments in light of the structure and legislation of the Finnish pension system.

”Investment operations in the Finnish earnings-related pension system” is a collection of articles consisting of an introduction and nine separate expert articles. The articles deal with the development of investments and earnings-related pension financing, practical pension financing, risk management, investment regulations and supervision, and earnings-related pension investments in general.

Schedule: 2019–2020

Researchers: Eeva Poutiainen and Sanna Tenhunen (eds), and 11 pension experts

The Pension Barometer examines how well Finns know pensions and how well they think pensions are implemented. The Barometer reveals Finns’ perceptions of how well they will manage financially in retirement and measures their trust in the pension system. The annual survey allows researchers to monitor how people’s opinions, perceptions and trust in the pension system change and develop. 

The Pension Barometer is based on annual telephone interviews carried out five years in a row with 1,000 persons between the ages of 17 and 79 who live in mainland Finland.

Researchers: Mikko Kautto/Jaakko Kiander, Susan Kuivalainen, Sanna Tenhunen

Schedule: 2017–2021


This study aims to gauge Finnish people’s knowledge in pensions; their confidence in the pension system and the possible associations between knowledge and confidence. The research considers both subjective, self-assessed pension knowledge and a more objective measure of knowledge about key features of the pension system.

The research bases on quantitative analysis of data gathered from the Pension barometer surveys in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Each annual barometer consists of interviews of around 1 000 Finns representing the general population of Finland aged 19 to 79 years old.

Schedule: 2019–2020

Researchers: Sanna Tenhunen, Susan Kuivalainen

In this research project, we address the nature of self-employment, self-employed persons’ income, their retirement intentions and pension insurance from several different viewpoints. We look at the level of the self-employed persons’ pension insurance, particularly at underinsurance. The aim is to find out, among other things, which self-employed persons underinsure themselves and how self-employed persons’ subjective perception and knowledge of pension insurance relate to underinsurance. 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.

The data consists of an Ad Hoc module on self-employment collected in connection with the 2017 Labour Force Survey. We use both descriptive and econometric analysis in our studies.

Schedule: Autumn 2018–2021

Researchers: Satu Nivalainen, Sanna Tenhunen