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Public Pensions, Changing Employment Patterns, and the Impact of Pension Reforms across Birth Cohorts: A Microsimulation Analysis for Germany

  • Geyer, Johannes


    (DIW Berlin)

  • Steiner, Viktor


    (Free University of Berlin)

We analyze the impact of changing employment patterns and pension reforms on the future level of public pensions across birth cohorts in Germany. The analysis is based on a rich dataset that combines household survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and process-produced microdata from the German pension insurance. A microsimulation model is developed which accounts for cohort effects in individual employment and unemployment and earnings over the lifecycle as well as the differential impact of recent pension reforms. Cohort effects for individuals born between 1937 and 1971 vary greatly by region, gender and education and strongly affect lifecycle wage profiles. The largest effects can be observed for younger cohorts in East Germany and for the low educated. Using simulated life cycle employment and income profiles, we project gross future pensions across cohorts taking into account changing demographics and recent pension reforms. Simulations show that pension levels for East German men and women will fall dramatically among younger birth cohorts, not only because of policy reforms but due to higher cumulated unemployment. For West German men, the small reduction of average pension levels among younger birth cohorts is mainly driven by the impact of pension reforms, while future pension levels of West German women are increasing or stable due to rising labor market participation of younger birth cohorts.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4815.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4815
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  1. Axel Borsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 135-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kapteyn, Arie & Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 1999. "Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts : productivity growth and social security," Serie Research Memoranda 0038, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  3. Ralf K. Himmelreicher & Michael Stegmann, 2008. "European Data Watch: New possibilities for socio-economic research through longitudinal data from the Research Data Center of the Federal German Pension Insurance (FDZ-RV)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 128(4), pages 647-660.
  4. Bernd Fitzenberger & Reinhold Schnabel & Gaby Wunderlich, 2004. "The gender gap in labor market participation and employment: A cohort analysis for West Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 83-116, February.
  5. Reinhard Hujer & Bernd Fitzenberger & Reinhold Schnabel & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 2001. "Testing for uniform wage trends in West-Germany: A cohort analysis using quantile regressions for censored data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 41-86.
  6. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  7. Whitehouse, Edward & Queisser, Monika, 2007. "Pensions at a glance: public policies across OECD countries," MPRA Paper 16349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  9. Paul Beaudry & David Green, 1997. "Cohort Patterns in Canadian Earnings: Assessing the Role of Skill Premia in Inequality Trends," NBER Working Papers 6132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Anika Rasner & Ralf K. Himmelreicher & Markus M. Grabka & Joachim R. Frick, 2007. "Best of Both Worlds: Preparatory Steps in Matching Survey Data with Administrative Pension Records ; The Case of the German Socio-Economic Panel and the Scientific Use File Completed Insurance Biograp," Data Documentation 24, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:603-640 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. David McKenzie, 2002. "Distangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects in the Additive Model," Working Papers 02009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  13. Boockmann, Bernhard & Steiner, Viktor, 2000. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-05, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  14. Cameron,A. Colin & Trivedi,Pravin K., 2005. "Microeconometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521848053.
  15. Stefan Krenz & Wolfgang Nagl & Joachim Ragnitz, 2009. "Is There a Growing Risk of Old-Age Poverty in East Germany?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 60(Supplemen), pages 35-54.
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