NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Disability, Pension Reform and Early Retirement in Germany

Axel H. Boersch-Supan, Hendrik Juerges

NBER Working Paper No. 17079
Issued in May 2011
NBER Program(s):Aging, Labor Studies

The aim of this paper is to describe for (West) Germany the historical relationship between health and disability on the one hand and old-age labor force participation or early retirement on the other hand. We explore how both are linked with various pension reforms. To put the historical developments into context, the paper first describes the most salient features and reforms of the pension system since the 1960s. Then we show how mortality, health and labor force participation of the elderly have changed since the 1970. While mortality (as our main measure of health) has continuously decreased and population health improved, labor force participation has also decreased, which is counterintuitive. We then look at a number of specific pension reforms in the 1970s and 1980s and show that increasing or decreasing the generosity of the pension system has had the expected large effects on old-age labor force participation. Finally, we explore the possible link between early childhood environment and early retirement by analyzing the retirement behavior of cohorts born during World War I, a period of harsh living conditions among the civilian population in Germany. Our data show higher early retirement rates among those cohorts, presumably because those cohorts still suffer from worse health on average many decades after their birth.

download in pdf format
   (153 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the October 2011 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17079

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Börsch-Supan and Jürges w12303 Early Retirement, Social Security and Well-Being in Germany
Börsch-Supan, Coppola, and Reil-Held w18014 Riester Pensions in Germany: Design, Dynamics, Targetting Success and Crowding-In
Börsch-Supan and berkel w9913 Pension Reform in Germany: The Impact on Retirement Decisions
Börsch-Supan and Wilke w10525 The German Public Pension System: How it Was, How it Will Be
Börsch-Supan and Jürges Disability, Pension Reform, and Early Retirement in Germany
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us