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Rates of Return of the German Pay-As-You-Go Pension System

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  • Schnabel, Reinhold

    () (Fachb. Wirtschaftswiss., Universität-Gesamthochschule Essen)

Abstract

Due to population aging, contribution rates of the mandatory German pay-as-you-go pension system are expected to increase dramatically during the next decades. This paper estimates the impact on the expected returns of contributions for different cohorts. I show that rates of return for younger cohorts will be between zero and one percent, depending on the demographic and economic scenarios; for some demographic groups they become negative. The implicit tax rates reach levels of around two-thirds of contributions for the youngest cohorts. If decreasing returns reduce incentives for labor supply and system participation, the whole system may become unsustainable. Indeed, I find empirical evidence for a recent decline of voluntary contributions and for a substitution away from taxable employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Schnabel, Reinhold, 1997. "Rates of Return of the German Pay-As-You-Go Pension System," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 98-56, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:98-56
    Note: I wish to thank Axel Börsch-Supan, Hans Fehr, Isabel Gödde, Joachim Winter and seminar participants at the Universities of Mannheim and Frankfurt/Main for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Financial Support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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    File URL: http://www.sfb504.uni-mannheim.de/publications/dp98-56.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Friedrich Breyer & Klaus Stolte, 2001. "Demographic change, endogenous labor supply and the political feasibility of pension reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(3), pages 409-424.
    3. 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.
    4. Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "The Declining Participation in the German PAYG-Pension System," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-42, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Borgmann & Matthias Heidler, 2003. "Demographics and Volatile Social Security Wealth: Political Risks of Benefit Rule Changes in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1021, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Fehr, Hans, 2000. " Pension Reform during the Demographic Transition," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 419-443, June.
    3. Marcel Thum & Jakob von Weisäcker, 2000. "Implizite Einkommensteuer als Messlatte für die aktuellen Rentenreformvorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(4), pages 453-468, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Kifmann, Mathias & Schindler, Dirk, 2000. "Demographic changes and the implicit tax rate in a pay-as-you-go pension system," Discussion Papers, Series I 308, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
    6. Friedrich Breyer, 2000. "Kapitaldeckungs- versus Umlageverfahren," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(4), pages 383-405, November.
    7. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1999. "The Crisis of Germany's Pension Insurance System and How It Can Be Resolved," NBER Working Papers 7304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Axel Börsch-Supan & Simone Kohnz & Reinhold Schnabel, 2007. "The Budget Impact of Reduced Early Retirement Incentives on the German Public Pension System," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Fiscal Implications of Reform, pages 201-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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