Research Discussion Paper – RDP 9112 The Role of Superannuation in the Financial Sector and in Aggregate Saving: A Review of Recent Trends


Assets with superannuation funds represented the fastest growing of the major components of household wealth during the 1980s. This paper reviews the causes of that growth, and its effects on private saving and on the pattern of financial intermediation. It is found that the growth of superannuation funds during this period was mainly a result of the funds' high earnings rates; there was relatively little change in the net rate of new contributions by members. This fact makes it hard to argue that growth of the superannuation sector came at the expense of other types of financial intermediaries. The relative stability of members' contributions also helps to explain why superannuation has not yet had a noticeable effect on the level of private saving.

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