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Don't Raise the Retirement Age! An Experiment on Opposition to Pension Reforms and East-West Differences in Germany

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  • Beatrice Scheubel
  • Daniel Schunk
  • Joachim Winter

Abstract

For policy reforms to increase a society's welfare, reliable information on people's prefer-ences and expectations is crucial. Representative opinion polls, often involving simplified questions about the complex topics under debate, are an important source of information for both policy-makers and the public. Do people's answers to these poll questions reliably reflect their preferences and expectations, or does fundamental, undiscriminating opposition to reforms distort them? We address this question in the context of a recent German pension reform which raised the statutory retirement age by two years to age 67. By introducing an experiment into a representative household survey, we are able to disentangle expectations of work ability at retirement and fundamental opposition. Our results show that expected work ability declines substantially with increasing target age (63, 65, or 67 years). Answers from West German respondents reflect their current life situation as well as individual health and other risk factors. However, a fundamental opposition to reforms of the welfare state appears to strongly affect responses from East German households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2752.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2752

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Keywords: retirement; health; work ability; survey experiment; public opinion poll; PAYG pension system; East Germany;

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References

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  1. Weiss M. & Börsch-Supan A., 2013. "Productivity and age: Evidence from work teams at the assembly line," ROA Research Memorandum 009, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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  3. Axel Börsch-Supan, 2004. "Mind the Gap: The Effectiveness of Incentives to boost Retirement Saving in Europe," MEA discussion paper series 04052, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
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  6. Monika Bütler, 2002. "The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 349-365, August.
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  9. Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2004. "MIND THE GAP: The Effectiveness of Incentives to Boost Retirement Saving in Europe," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-27, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  10. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
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  13. Gary Burtless & Joseph F. Quinn, 2000. "Retirement Trends and Policies to Encourage Work Among Older Americans," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 436, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Butler, Monika, 2000. "The political feasibility of pension reform options: the case of Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 389-416, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2009. "Booms, Recessions and Financial Turmoil: A Fresh Look at Investment Decisions under Cyclical Uncertainty," CESifo Working Paper Series 2759, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Heinemann, Friedrich & Hennighausen, Tanja & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel, 2011. "Intrinsic work motivation and pension reform acceptance," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-045, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Sahlgren, Gabriel H., 2012. "Work ‘til You Drop: Short- and Longer-Term Health Effects of Retirement in Europe," Working Paper Series 928, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Julian Diaz Saavedra, 2013. "Age-dependent Taxation, Retirement Behavior, and Work Hours Over the Life Cycle," ThE Papers 13/09, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..

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