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Beliefs about demographic change: How well are individuals informed?


  • Elisa Stumpf

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

  • Jana Schuetz

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

  • Silke Uebelmesser

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena, CESifo)

  • Ronja Baginski

    (University of Mannheim, MIFE)

  • Carmela Aprea

    (University of Mannheim, MIFE)


Demographic change is one of Germany's most pressing social and economic challenges. Using data from a representative telephone survey, we analyze how well informed respondents are about the magnitude of demographic change and what factors influence the accuracy of their beliefs. We find that respondents tend to overestimate the old-age dependency ratio when considering the current and long-term demographic situation separately. However, their beliefs regarding the change of the old-age dependency ratios over the considered period are not far from the projected change. A better understanding of the German statutory pension insurance plays an important role for more accurate beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisa Stumpf & Jana Schuetz & Silke Uebelmesser & Ronja Baginski & Carmela Aprea, 2024. "Beliefs about demographic change: How well are individuals informed?," Jena Economics Research Papers 2024-003, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2024-003

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    More about this item


    beliefs; belief updating; demographic change; old-age dependency ratio; information provision;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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