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Survivor Benefits and the Gender Tax-Gap in Public Pension Schemes Work Incentives and Options for Reform

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  • Martin Werding

Abstract

Since its inception, the traditional form of providing survivor benefits through public pension schemes has lost much of its legitimacy. As a result of fundamental changes in marriage behaviour and the typical division of labour between married spouses, offering non-contributory benefits of this kind can not only be seen as inequitable. Since they usually substitute for non-derived pension entitlements based on the survivant spouse’s own contributions, they can also lead to incentive effects, especially for married women with some degree of labour force attachment, that appear to be far from optimal. The present paper highlights this problem based on empirical estimates regarding the wage elasticities of labour supply for German females vs males and shows how it could be resolved by installing a joint annuitisation of a given couple’s pension entitlements.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Werding, 2005. "Survivor Benefits and the Gender Tax-Gap in Public Pension Schemes Work Incentives and Options for Reform," ifo Working Paper Series 7, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Fenge & Andrea Gebauer & Christian Holzner & Volker Meier & Martin Werding, 2003. "Alterssicherungssysteme im internationalen Vergleich : Finanzierung, Leistungen, Besteuerung," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 10, June.
    2. Marcel Thum & Jakob von Weisäcker, 2000. "Implizite Einkommensteuer als Messlatte für die aktuellen Rentenreformvorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(4), pages 453-468, November.
    3. Robert Fenge & Silke Übelmesser & Martin Werding, 2002. "Second-best Properties of Implicit Social Security Taxes: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 743, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Christian Holzner, 2005. "Search Frictions, Credit Constraints and Firm Financed General Training," ifo Working Paper Series 6, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    5. Hans-Werner Sinn & Martin Werding, 2000. "Rentenniveausenkung und Teilkapitaldeckung - ifo Empfehlungen zur Konsolidierung des Umlageverfahrens," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 53(18), pages 12-25, June.
    6. Sandmo, Agnar, 1974. "A Note on the Structure of Optimal Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 701-706, September.
    7. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    8. Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2003. "Ageing and Fiscal Imbalances Across Generations: Concepts of Measurement," CESifo Working Paper Series 842, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Franz, Wolfgang, 1985. "An Economic Analysis of Female Work Participation, Education, and Fertility: Theory and Empirical Evidence for the Federal Republic of Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 218-234, January.
    10. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    11. Sandmo, Agnar, 1987. "A Reinterpretation of Elasticity Formulae in Optimum Tax Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(213), pages 89-96, February.
    12. Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2004. "Ageing and the tax implied in public pension schemes: simulations for selected OECD countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 159-200, June.
    13. Martin Werding & Anita Dehne, 2005. "Modellrechnungen zur langfristigen Tragfähigkeit der öffentlichen Finanzen," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 17, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public pension; survivor benefits; female labour supply; optimal taxation.;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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