This paper analyses the impact of public pension expenditures and pension funds' assets as well as its paid-out benefits on macroeconomic volatility. We use panel data for 35 OECD countries for the period 1980–2018 and apply a set of state-of-the-art econometric estimators. Our results suggest a smoothing effect of public pension expenditures on per capita consumption growth volatility and overall macroeconomic volatility. We however do not find such effects coming from pension funds' paid-out benefits. In contrast, the effect of pension funds' assets depends crucially on the level of economic development: there is a dampening effect on per capita investment growth volatility in less developed countries; while a volatility-boosting effect in most developed countries.