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Living Standards in Retirement: Accepted International Comparisons are Misleading

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  • Joachim R. Frick
  • Bruce Headey

Abstract

Accepted international assessments of living standards in retirement rely on comparing social pension incomes. These assessments conclude that European countries with contributory pension schemes provide retirees with higher living standards than liberal Anglo-American regimes in which many citizens rely on flat rate old age pensions. Comparisons based solely on pension incomes are potentially misleading because the living standards of retirees depend on their total economic resources, particularly their wealth. In this paper we make use of the wealth data in the German (SOEP) and Australian (HILDA) panels. Our revised ‘present value’ estimates of wealth suggest that Australian and German retirees have approximately the same living standards (mean and median), with much the same distribution (Gini).

Suggested Citation

  • Joachim R. Frick & Bruce Headey, 2009. "Living Standards in Retirement: Accepted International Comparisons are Misleading," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(2), pages 309-319.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v129_y2009_i1_q1_p309-319
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3790/schm.129.2.309
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2013. "Multidimensional affluence: theory and applications to Germany and the US," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(32), pages 4591-4601, November.
    2. Timm Bönke & Markus M. Grabka & Carsten Schröder & Edward N. Wolff, 2017. "A Head-to-Head Comparison of Augmented Wealth in Germany and the United States," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 899, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Thomas Y. Mathä & Alessandro Porpiglia & Eva Sierminska, 2011. "The Immigrant/Native Wealth Gap in Germany, Italy and Luxembourg," BCL working papers 57, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    4. Timm Bönke & Markus M. Grabka & Carsten Schröder & Edward N. Wolff & Lennard Zyska, 2016. "The Joint Distribution of Net Worth and Pension Wealth in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 853, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2010. "Multidimensional Measurement of Richness: Theory and an Application to Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 295, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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