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The German Public Pension System: How it Was, How it Will Be

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Listed:
  • Axel Börsch-Supan

    ()

  • Christina Benita Wilke

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

Abstract

Germany still has a very generous public pay-as-you-go pension system. It is characterized by early effective retirement ages and very high effective replacement rates. Most workers receive virtually all of their retirement income from this public retirement insurance. Costs are almost 12 percent of GDP, more than 2.5 times as much as the U.S. Social Security System. The pressures exerted by population aging on this monolithic system, amplified by negative incentive effects, have induced a reform process that began in 1992 and is still ongoing. This paper has two parts. Part A describes the German pension system as it has shaped the labor market from 1972 until today. Part B describes the reform process which will convert the exemplary and monolithic Bismarckian public insurance system to a complex multipillar system. We provide a survey of the main features of the future German retirement system introduced by the so called “Riester Reform†in 2001 and an assessment in how far this last reform step will solve the pressing problems of the German system of old age provision.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Börsch-Supan & Christina Benita Wilke, 2003. "The German Public Pension System: How it Was, How it Will Be," MEA discussion paper series 03034, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:03034
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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.
    2. Axel Börsch-Supan & Tito Boeri & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Would you Like to Reform the Pension System?," MEA discussion paper series 02007, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    3. David M. Cutler & Louise Sheiner, 1998. "Demographics and Medical Care Spending: Standard and Non-Standard Effects," NBER Working Papers 6866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 2000. "A Model under Siege: A Case Study of the German Retirement Insurance System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(461), pages 24-45, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Axel Börsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel & Simone Kohnz & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2004. "Micro-Modeling of Retirement Decisions in Germany," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 285-344 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. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-183, May.
    11. Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Rates of return of the German pay-as-you-go pension system," Papers 98-56, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    12. Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2000. "Rentenreform und die Bereitschaft zur Eigenvorsorge: Umfrageergebnisse in Deutschland," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-25, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    13. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fanny A. Kluge, 2009. "Transfers, consumption and income over the lifecycle in Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Deschryvere, Matthias, 2004. "Labour Force Behavior of Elderly Two Adult Households: Evidence from EU-countries," Discussion Papers 933, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    3. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Reil-Held, Anette & Wilke, Christina Benita, 2007. "How an unfunded pension system looks like defined benefits but works like defined contribtuions : the German pension reform," Papers 07-09, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    4. P. Bisciari & D. Dury & B. Eugène & L. Van Meensel, 2009. "Pension system reforms in the EU15 countries," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iv, pages 21-45, December.
    5. Geyer, Johannes & Engels, Barbara & Haan, Peter, 2016. "Changing incentives for early retirement - Causal evidence from a cohort based pension reform," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145737, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2003. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities versus Phased Withdrawal Plans," Working Papers wp063, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Goll, Nicolas & Maier, Christina, 2016. "15 Jahre Riester - eine Bilanz," Working Papers 12/2016, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    8. Akin Serife Nuray, 2012. "Immigration, Fiscal Policy, and Welfare in an Aging Population," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-45, July.
    9. Dilshodjon Alidjonovich Rakhmonov, 2016. "Improvement of the Pension System in Uzbekistan: Through the Experience of the European Union Countries," Eurasian Journal of Economics and Finance, Eurasian Publications, vol. 4(1), pages 80-90.
    10. Fanny A. Kluge, 2011. "Labor income and consumption profiles: the case of Germany," Chapters,in: Population Aging and the Generational Economy, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Jean Chateau, 2006. "Disparities in Pension Financing in Europe: Economic and Financial Consequences," Working Papers 2006-09, CEPII research center.
    12. Essig, Lothar, 2005. "Household saving in Germany : results from SAVE 2001 - 2003," Papers 05-23, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    13. Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2004. "Mind the gap : the effectiveness of incentives to boost retirement saving in Europe," Papers 07-27, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.

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    JEL classification:

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

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