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Public pensions, changing employment patterns, and the impact of pension reforms across birth cohorts: A microsimulation analysis for Germany

  • Geyer, Johannes
  • Steiner, Viktor

We analyze the impact of changing employment patterns and pension reforms on the future level of public pensions across birth cohorts in Germany. The analysis is based on a rich dataset that combines household survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and process-produced microdata from the German pension insurance. A microsimulation model is developed which accounts for cohort effects in individual employment and unemployment and earnings over the lifecycle as well as the differential impact of recent pension reforms. Cohort effects for individuals born between 1937 and 1971 vary greatly by region, gender and education and strongly affect lifecycle wage profiles. The largest effects can be observed for younger cohorts in East Germany and for the low educated. Using simulated life cycle employment and income profiles, we project gross future pensions across cohorts taking into account changing demographics and recent pension reforms. Simulations show that pension levels for East German men and women will fall dramatically among younger birth cohorts, not only because of policy reforms but due to higher cumulated unemployment. For West German men, the small reduction of average pension levels among younger birth cohorts is mainly driven by the impact of pension reforms, while future pension levels of West German women are increasing or stable due to rising labor market participation of younger birth cohorts.

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Paper provided by Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2010/8.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:20108
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  1. Anika Rasner & Ralf K. Himmelreicher & Markus M. Grabka & Joachim R. Frick, 2007. "Best of Both Worlds: Preparatory Steps in Matching Survey Data with Administrative Pension Records ; The Case of the German Socio-Economic Panel and the Scientific Use File Completed Insurance Biograp," Data Documentation 24, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. David McKenzie, 2002. "Distangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects in the Additive Model," Working Papers 02009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arie Kapteyn & R. Alessie & Annamaria Lusardi, 2003. "Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts: productivity growth and social security," Working Papers 01-03, Utrecht School of Economics.
  5. Axel Borsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel, 1997. "Social Security and Retirement in Germany," NBER Working Papers 6153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  7. Bernd Fitzenberger & Reinhold Schnabel & Gaby Wunderlich, 2004. "The gender gap in labor market participation and employment: A cohort analysis for West Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 83-116, February.
  8. Whitehouse, Edward & Queisser, Monika, 2007. "Pensions at a glance: public policies across OECD countries," MPRA Paper 16349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Boockmann, Bernhard & Steiner, Viktor, 2000. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-05, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  11. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2000. "Cohort patterns in Canadian earnings: assessing the role of skill premia in inequality trends," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 907-936, November.
  12. Reinhard Hujer & Bernd Fitzenberger & Reinhold Schnabel & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 2001. "Testing for uniform wage trends in West-Germany: A cohort analysis using quantile regressions for censored data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 41-86.
  13. Stefan Krenz & Wolfgang Nagl & Joachim Ragnitz, 2009. "Is There a Growing Risk of Old-Age Poverty in East Germany?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 60(Supplemen), pages 35-54.
  14. Ralf K. Himmelreicher & Michael Stegmann, 2008. "European Data Watch: New possibilities for socio-economic research through longitudinal data from the Research Data Center of the Federal German Pension Insurance (FDZ-RV)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 128(4), pages 647-660.
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