Torben Heien Nielsen

University of Copenhagen
Department of Economics
Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building 25
DK-1353 Copenhagen K


NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2016Household Labor Supply Responses to Severe Health Shocks and the Gains from Social Insurance
with Itzik Fadlon
in Social Insurance Programs (Trans-Atlantic Public Economic Seminar - TAPES), Roger Gordon, Andreas Peichl and James Poterba, organizers
October 2015Do Employer Pension Contributions Reflect Employee Preferences? Evidence from a Retirement Savings Reform in Denmark
with Itzik Fadlon, Jessica A. Laird: w21665
This paper studies how firms set contributions to employer-provided 401(k)-type pension plans. Using a reform that decreased the subsidy for contributions to capital pension accounts for Danish workers in the top income tax bracket, we provide strong evidence that employers' contributions are based on their employees' savings preferences. We find an immediate decrease in employer contributions to capital accounts, whose magnitude increased in the share of employees directly affected by the reform. This response was large relative to average employee responses within private IRA-type plans and was accompanied by a similar-magnitude shift of employer contributions to annuity accounts.

Published: Itzik Fadlon & Jessica Laird & Torben Heien Nielsen, 2016. "Do Employer Pension Contributions Reflect Employee Preferences? Evidence from a Retirement Savings Reform in Denmark," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol 8(3), pages 196-216. citation courtesy of

July 2015Household Responses to Severe Health Shocks and the Design of Social Insurance
with Itzik Fadlon: w21352
This paper studies how households respond to severe health shocks and the insurance role of spousal labor supply. In the empirical part of the paper, we provide new evidence on individuals' labor supply responses to spousal health and mortality shocks. Analyzing administrative data on over 500,000 Danish households in which a spouse dies, we find that survivors immediately increase their labor supply and that this effect is entirely driven by those who experience significant income losses due to the shock. Notably, widows – who experience large income losses when their husbands die – increase their labor force participation by more than 11%, while widowers – who are significantly more financially stable – decrease their labor supply. In contrast, studying over 70,000 households in which a ...
November 2012Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowdout in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark
with Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Soren Leth-Petersen, Tore Olsen: w18565
Using 41 million observations on savings for the population of Denmark, we show that the impacts of retirement savings policies on wealth accumulation depend on whether they change savings rates by active or passive choice. Subsidies for retirement accounts, which rely upon individuals to take an action to raise savings, primarily induce individuals to shift assets from taxable accounts to retirement accounts. We estimate that each $1 of government expenditure on subsidies increases total saving by only 1 cent. In contrast, policies that raise retirement contributions if individuals take no action - such as automatic employer contributions to retirement accounts - increase wealth accumulation substantially. We estimate that approximately 15% of individuals are "active savers" who respond t...

Published: Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Søren Leth-Petersen & Torben Heien Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2014. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-Out in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1141-1219. citation courtesy of

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