Longevity, life-cycle behavior and pension reform

How can public pension systems be reformed to ensure fiscal stability in the face of increasing life expectancy? To address this question, we use micro data to estimate a structural life-cycle model of individuals’ employment, retirement and consumption decisions. We calculate that, in the case of Germany, an increase of 3.76 years in the pension age thresholds or a cut of 26.8% in the per-year value of public pension benefits would offset the fiscal consequencesof the increase in life expectancy anticipated to occur over the next 40 years. On average, individuals value the increase in the pension age thresholds at 3.44% of baseline consumption, and are willing to forgo 8.51% of baseline consumption to avoid the cut in peryearpension value. The increase in the pension age thresholds makes 87.7% of individuals better-off, and generates large responses in labor supply and retirement behavior. However, the favorable effects of this reform depend on the availability of jobs for older individuals.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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