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

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Listed:
  • Axel H. Börsch-Supan

    (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging)

  • Christina B. Wilke

    (National Bureau of Economic Research)

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% 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 multi-pillar 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 H. Börsch-Supan & Christina B. Wilke, 2003. "The German Public Pension System: How it Was, How it Will Be," Working Papers wp041, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp041
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    File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp041.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, April.
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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. Engels, Barbara & Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter, 2017. "Pension incentives and early retirement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 216-231.
    5. 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.
    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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