Research Seminar in Economics, Silke Übelmesser (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
Pension Reform Preferences in Germany: Does Information Matter?
Demographic change has an impact on pay-as-you-go pension systems. To maintain their financial sustainability, reforms are necessary, but often lack public support. Based on representative survey data from Germany, we conduct a survey experiment which allows investigating whether salience of or information about demographic change enhances preferences towards reforms in general as well as towards specific reform measures. We find that salience and information provision significantly increase the perceived reform necessity. Furthermore, salience increases preferences for an increase of the retirement age over other reform measures, while information provision reduces preferences for tax subsidies. In addition, we highlight the impact of prior beliefs and find that overestimation of demographic change in the short term reduces the treatment effects, while overestimation in the long term increases it. As the salience and the information treatments barely differ, we conclude that it is not the information about the demographic change, but rather being made aware of the challenges of the pension system, which matters for reform preferences.