NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Anette Reil-Held

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April 2012Riester Pensions in Germany: Design, Dynamics, Targetting Success and Crowding-In
with Axel H. Börsch-Supan, Michela Coppola: w18014
Riester pensions are voluntary, but heavily subsidized private pension schemes in Germany. They were designed as a matching defined contribution scheme to fill the emerging “pension gap” that is being generated by the gradually declining generosity of the public pay-as-you-go pensions in response to population aging. This paper investigates how the uptake of the recently introduced “Riester pensions” depends on the state-provided saving incentives and how well the targeting to families and low-income households has worked in practice. It documents the costs of the scheme, and collects circumstantial evidence on displacement effects between saving for old-age provision and other purposes. After a slow start and several design changes, Riester pension plans took off very quickly. While ...

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