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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Beatrice Scheubel & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Don't Raise the Retirement Age! An Experiment on Opposition to Pension Reforms and East-West Differences in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 2752, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2752
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2752.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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..
    2. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Booms, Recessions And Financial Turmoil: A Fresh Look At Investment Decisions Under Cyclical Uncertainty," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(s1), pages 290-317, July.
    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. Hans FEHR, "undated". "Pension Reform with Variable Retirment Age," EcoMod2010 259600055, EcoMod.
    5. Elsa Fornero, 2015. "Economic-financial Literacy and (Sustainable) Pension Reforms: Why the Former is a Key Ingredient for the Latter," Bankers, Markets & Investors, ESKA Publishing, issue 134, pages 6-16, January-F.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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