Don't raise the retirement age! An experiment on opposition to pension reforms and East-West differences in Germany

Scheubel, Beatrice ; Schunk, Daniel ; Winter, Joachim

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-24429
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2009
The title of a journal, publication series: MEA Discussion Papers
Volume: 188
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: 330 Economics
Classification: JEL: D84 H55 H30 J10 ,
Subject headings (SWD): Deutschland <Östliche Länder> , Rente , Rentenalter , Öffentliche Meinung , Umfrage
Keywords (English): retirement , health , work ability , survey experiment , public opinion poll , PAYG pension system , East Germany
Abstract: For policy reforms to increase a society's welfare, reliable information on people's preferences and expectations is crucial. Representative opinion polls, often involving simplified questions about the complex topics under debate, are an important source of information for both policy-makers and the public. Do people's answers to these poll questions reliably reflect their preferences and expectations, or does fundamental, undiscriminating opposition to reforms distort them? We address this question in the context of a recent German pension reform which raised the statutory retirement age by two years to age 67. By introducing an experiment into a representative household survey, we are able to disentangle expectations of work ability at retirement and fundamental opposition. Our results show that expected work ability declines substantially with increasing target age (63, 65, or 67 years). Answers from West German respondents re°ect their current life situation as well as individual health nd other risk factors. However, a fundamental opposition to reforms of the welfare state appears to strongly affect responses from East German households.

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