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The effects of public pensions on private wealth: evidence on the German savings puzzle

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Based on German panel data between 1984 and 1999, we test for the interaction of social security benefits and private wealth formation. In a simple life-cylce model benefits from public pension systems should displace equal amounts of private retirement accumulation. Our estimate for the offset effect, corrected for several possible measurement biases, is much lower, however, than expected from pure life-cycle considerations and less than comparable estimates for the US and the UK. This result thus supports other evidence on a particular German savings puzzle, which might be due to market imperfections and/or bounded rational behaviour.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036840701749027

Affiliations: 1: Economics, Kwandong University, Kwandong, Korea 2: Economics, University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt 60325, Germany

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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