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Private Retirement Savings in Germany: The Structure of Tax Incentives and Annuitization

  • Hans Fehr
  • Christian Habermann

The present paper studies the growth, welfare and efficiency consequences of the recent introduction of tax-favored retirement accounts in Germany in a general equilibrium overlapping generations model with idiosyncratic lifespan and labor income uncertainty. We focus on the implicit differential taxation of specific savings motives, the mandatory annuitization of benefits and the impact of special provisions for low-income households. The simulations indicate that the reform improves overall economic efficiency by about 0.6 percent of aggregate resources, but welfare decreases significantly for future generations. Finally, we show that special provisions could be very effective in raising the participation of low-income households despite their low budgetary cost.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-03/cesifo1_wp2238.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2238.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2238
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  1. Benjamin, Daniel J., 2003. "Does 401(k) eligibility increase saving?: Evidence from propensity score subclassification," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1259-1290, May.
  2. Fehr, Hans, 1999. "Welfare Effects of Dynamic Tax Reforms," Beiträge zur Finanzwissenschaft, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, volume 5, number urn:isbn:9783161470165.
  3. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
  4. Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2007. "Multidimensional Spline Interpolation: Theory and Applications," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 153-169, September.
  5. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, June.
  6. Pecchenino, Rowena A & Pollard, Patricia S, 1997. "The Effects of Annuities, Bequests, and Aging in an Overlapping Generations Model of Endogenous Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 26-46, January.
  7. Martin S. Feldstein, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 123-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Warren Hrung, 2002. "Income Uncertainty and IRAs," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(5), pages 591-599, September.
  9. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Consumption Taxes and Economic Efficiency with Idiosyncratic Wage Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1088-1115, October.
  10. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Personal Security Accounts and Mandatory Annuitization in a Dynastic Framework," CESifo Working Paper Series 1405, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Orazio P. Attanasio & Thomas DeLeire, 2002. "The Effect Of Individual Retirement Accounts On Household Consumption And National Saving," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(6), pages 504-538, July.
  12. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  13. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249 Elsevier.
  14. Dirk Krueger, 2006. "Public Insurance against Idiosyncratic and Aggregate Risk: The Case of Social Security and Progressive Income Taxation," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(4), pages 587-620, December.
  15. Axel Börsch-Supan & Anette Reil-Held & Daniel Schunk, 2007. "The savings behaviour of German households: First Experiences with state promoted private pensions," MEA discussion paper series 07136, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  16. Marco Cagetti, 2001. "Interest Elasticity in a Life-Cycle Model with Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 418-421, May.
  17. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2006. "Tax-Favored Retirement Accounts: Are they Efficient in Increasing Savings and Growth?," Working Papers 012, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  18. Fehr, Hans & Habermann, Christian, 2008. "Welfare effects of life annuities: Some clarifications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 177-180, April.
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