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Distributional effects of subsidizing retirement savings accounts: Evidence from Germany

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  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Schröder, Carsten
  • König, Johannes

Abstract

We empirically investigate the distributional consequences of the Riester scheme, the main private pension subsidization program in Germany. We find that 38% of the aggregate subsidy accrues to the top two deciles of the population, but only 7.3% to the bottom two. Nonetheless the Riester scheme is almost distributionally neutral when looking at standard inequality measures. This is due to two offsetting effects: a progressive one stemming from the subsidy schedule and a regressive one from voluntary participation. Regressions of the participation decision suggest that a high level of household wealth significantly increases the probability of benefiting from the Riester scheme.

Suggested Citation

  • Corneo, Giacomo & Schröder, Carsten & König, Johannes, 2015. "Distributional effects of subsidizing retirement savings accounts: Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 2015/18, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201518
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ihle, Dorothee, 2017. "Quantile treatment effects of Riester participation on wealth," MEP Discussion Papers 96, University of Münster, Münster Center for Economic Policy (MEP).
    2. Bönke, Timm & Kemptner, Daniel & Lüthen, Holger, 2018. "Effectiveness of early retirement disincentives: Individual welfare, distributional and fiscal implications," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 25-37.
    3. Dolls, Mathias & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Stichnoth, Holger, 2018. "Do retirement savings increase in response to information about retirement and expected pensions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 168-179.
    4. Bönke, Timm & Grabka, Markus M. & Schröder, Carsten & Wolff, Edward N., 2020. "A Head-to-Head Comparison of Augmented Wealth in Germany and the United States," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1140-1180.
    5. Johannes König & Carsten Schröder, 2018. "Inequality-minimization with a given public budget," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(4), pages 607-629, December.
    6. Salvador Barrios & Flavia Coda Moscarola & Francesco Figari & Luca Gandullia, 2020. "Size and distributional pattern of pension-related tax expenditures in European countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(5), pages 1287-1320, October.
    7. Dolls, Mathias & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Stichnoth, Holger, 2016. "Do savings increase in response to salient information about retirement and expected pensions?," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-059, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    8. Dolls, Mathias & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Stichnoth, Holger, 2019. "Reprint of: Do retirement savings increase in response to information about retirement and expected pensions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 105-116.
    9. Dorothee Ihle, 2017. "Quantile Treatment Effects of Riester Participation on Wealth," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 954, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    saving subsidies; retirement plans; income distribution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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