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How an Unfunded Pension System looks like Defined Benefits but works like Defined Contributions: The German Pension Reform

By Axel H. Börsch-Supan, Anette Reil-Held and Christina B. Wilke

Abstract

This paper describes the German pension reform process 1992-2007 with a stress on a remark-able development: the public pay-as-you-go-financed pension system has almost silently moved from a traditional defined benefit system to a system which works in many respects like a defined contribution system. The paper combines economic with political considerations, hopefully offering a few lessons that are useful also for other countries.

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