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

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  • Geyer, Johannes

    () (DIW Berlin)

  • Steiner, Viktor

    () (Free University of Berlin)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Geyer, Johannes & Steiner, Viktor, 2010. "Public Pensions, Changing Employment Patterns, and the Impact of Pension Reforms across Birth Cohorts: A Microsimulation Analysis for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4815
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    Cited by:

    1. Potrafke, Niklas, 2012. "Unemployment, human capital depreciation and pension benefits: an empirical evaluation of German data," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 223-241, April.
    2. Hans Fehr & Franz Ruland & Gisela Färber & Annelie Buntenbach, 2012. "Beitragssenkung und Zuschussrente: Ist das eine nachhaltige Rentenpolitik?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 65(19), pages 04-16, October.
    3. Christian Westermeier & Anika Rasner & Markus M. Grabka, 2012. "The Prospects of the Baby Boomers: Methodological Challenges in Projecting the Lives of an Aging Cohort," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 440, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Johannes Geyer & Viktor Steiner, 2011. "Future pensions and changes in earning histories—a microsimulation analysis for Germany," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 28.
    5. Marike Knoef & Rob Alessie & Adriaan Kalwij, 2013. "Changes in the Income Distribution of the Dutch Elderly between 1989 and 2020: a Dynamic Microsimulation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(3), pages 460-485, September.
    6. Johannes Geyer, 2011. "The Effect of Health and Employment Risks on Precautionary Savings," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 408, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public pensions; cohort effects; microsimulation;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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