Age and Cohort Effects in Saving and the German Retirement System
As the public pay-as-you-go pension systems of the aging industrialized countries are likely to become seriously strained under the growing dependency burden, the question arises whether a society should rely on private savings to finance old-age consumption. This is an empirical question about the magnitude and the flexibility of saving rates. This paper argues that saving rates must increase in an unprecedented fashion in order to compensate for the dependency effect. The paper takes the German case as an example. It analyses saving behavior in Germany using three waves of the Income and Expenditure Survey. It separates age and cohort effects; computes the demographically induced change in the aggregate saving rate; and compares the magnitude of these excess savings with the increasing burden of the pension system. Finally, a macroeconomic simulation model is used to explore possible paths of the cohort effects in saving rates.
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