The savings behaviour of German households: first experiences with state promoted private pensions

Börsch-Supan, Axel ; Reil-Held, Anette ; Schunk, Daniel

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-15491
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2007
The title of a journal, publication series: MEA Discussion Papers
Volume: 136
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Law and Economics > Sonstige - Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft und Volkswirtschaftslehre
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des MEA (Mannheim Research Institute For the Economics of Aging) > MEA Discussion Papers
Subject: 300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Subject headings (SWD): Private Altersversorgung , Sparen , Bevölkerungsentwicklung , Deutschland
Abstract: The process of demographic change and the fact that the benefits of a growing proportion of pensioners must be financed by fewer and fewer contributors, poses major problems for the German pay-as-you-go pension scheme. For this reason, the 2001 pension reform entailed a reduction in the level of statutory pensions and strengthened the funded second and third pillars of old-age pension provision. The 'Riester pension', introduced in 2001, aimed at encouraging the accumulation of additional private pensions, and therefore created a voluntary but highly subsidized private pension supplement. The savings incentives - flat-rate benefits and tax breaks – created by the reform were intended to motivate people in the public retirement insurance scheme to compensate for reductions in relative statutory pension levels by paying into private pension funds.1 State subsidizes for Riester pensions are substantial: Contributions made by people on low earnings and parents attract subsidizes of over 50 per cent - in other words, the state delivers more than half of the savings put aside by these groups of people. How did these subsidies affect the savings behaviour of German private households? This paper uses the Riester pension as an ‘experiment’ that sheds light on how savings incentives work.
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