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A Blue Print For Germany’s Pension Reform

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  • Axel Börsch-Supan

    () (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Abstract

Germany relies almost exclusively on a public pay-as-you-go pension system for old-age in-come provision. This mandatory “retirement insurance†has become under severe pressure, mainly from population aging and from incentive effects that have reduced labor supply. This paper argues Germany needs a pension reform with three main elements: (1) A reformed pay-as-you-go pillar which is actuarially fair, features a transparent notional account set-up, and freezes contribution rates at the current level; (2) A second funded pillar which is based on US 401(k)-style grouped accounts that finance the impending aging burden; (3) Augmented by redistributive features that guarantee a minimum pension and strengthen human capital formation. The paper briefly discusses the sources of the current problems, details the reform proposal, in particular the cohort- and time-varying transition burden which turns out to be rather moderate, and sheds light on the side effects of such a transition on the German macro economy which are more subtle than is often claimed.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Börsch-Supan, 2002. "A Blue Print For Germany’s Pension Reform," MEA discussion paper series 02002, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:02002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sikandar Siddiqui, 1997. "The pension incentive to retire: Empirical evidence for West Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 463-486.
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    3. Pestieau, Pierre & Possen, Uri M., 2000. "Investing Social Security in the Equity Market. Does It Make a Difference?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(1), pages 41-58, March.
    4. Walliser, Jan & Winter, Joachim, 1998. "Tax incentives, bequest motives and the demand for life insurance : evidence from Germany," Papers 99-28, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    5. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-178, May.
    7. Martin Feldstein, 1998. "Privatizing Social Security," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld98-1, April.
    8. Axel Borsch-Supan, 1998. "Incentive Effects of Social Security on Labor Force Participation: Evidence in Germany and Across Europe," NBER Working Papers 6780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Brunner, Johann K., 1993. "Redistribution and the efficiency of the pay-as-you-go pension system," Discussion Papers, Series I 265, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
    10. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-388, September.
    11. Robert Holzmann, 1997. "Pension Reform, Financial Market Development, and Economic Growth: Preliminary Evidence from Chile," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 149-178, June.
    12. Börsch-Supan, Axel, 1998. "Incentive Effects of Social Security on Labor Force Participation: Evidence in Germany and Across Europe," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 98-29, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    13. Pestieau, Pierre & Possen, Uri M., 2000. "Investing Social Security in the Equity Market. Does it Make a Difference?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 1), pages 41-58, March.
    14. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1995. "Pension reform and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1471, The World Bank.
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    JEL classification:

    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General

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