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The German Retirement Benefit Formula: Drawbacks and Alternatives

  • Friedrich Breyer
  • Mathias Kifmann

Wir diskutieren eine Reihe von Problemen der Rentenformel in der deutschen gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung (GRV). Wir zeigen, dass Bev¨olkerungsgruppen mit ¨uberdurchschnittlicher Lebenserwartung, insbesondere die besser Verdienenden, von den ¨ubrigen Versicherten subventioniert werden, da die Rentenformel Unterschiede in den gruppenspezifischen Lebenserwartungen nicht ber¨ucksichtigt. Außerdem f¨uhrt die Formel zu unerw¨unschten langfristigen Wirkungen, wenn die Beitragsbemessungsgrenze erh¨oht oder die Pflichtmitgliedschaft ausgeweitet wird, wenn die Lebenserwartung steigt oder das Bev¨olkerungswachstum abnimmt. Wir schlagen zwei Alternativen vor, die die gruppenspezifische Lebenserwartung ber¨ucksichtigen. Wir zeigen, dass insbesondere die Interne-Rendite-Formel, die jeden Euro an Beitr¨agen mit der internen Rendite des Umlageverfahrens belohnt, gegen¨uber der gegenw¨artigen Formel ¨uberlegen ist. In this paper we identify a number of objectionable features of the German retirement benefit formula. We show that groups of insureds with higher than average life expectancy, in particular high-income groups, are subsidized by the rest of the membership because the formula neglects differences in group-specific life expectancy. Furthermore, the current formula leads to undesirable long-run effects if the earnings ceilings is raised, mandatory membership is extended, life expectancy rises or the rate of population growth declines. We present two alternative formulas which take group-specific life expectancy into account. In particular, a return-rate formula which rewards each Euro of contributions with the internal rate of return of the pay-as-you-go pension system proves to be superior to the current formula.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 326.

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Length: 19 p.
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp326
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  1. Robert Fenge & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2002. "Second-best Properties of Implicit Social Security Taxes: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 743, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Klaus Beckmann, 2000. "A Note on the Tax Rate implicit in Contributions to Pay-as-you-go Public Pension Systems," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(1), pages 63-, September.
  3. Homburg, Stefan & Richter, Wolfram, 1990. "Eine effizienzorientierte Reform der GRV," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 183-191..
  4. Mathias Kifman & Dirk Schindler, 2000. "Smoothing the Implicit Tax Rate in a Pay-as-you-go Pension System," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(3), pages 261-, May.
  5. 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.
  6. ûystein ThÛgersen, 1998. "A note on intergenerational risk sharing and the design of pay-as-you-go pension programs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 373-378.
  7. Mathias Kifmann, 2001. "Langfristige Folgen einer Einbeziehung der Selbständigen in die gesetzliche Rentenversicherung," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 251, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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