Study “State fund for old-age provision”
11 May 2022
Reform Project “State Pension Fund: Benefits and Limitations in a Cross-Country Comparative Evaluation
Since the emergence of institutional pension systems in Europe from the 19th century onward, they have been and continue to be permanently restructured, revised and reformed in a variety of ways. And this has taken place against the backdrop of constantly changing framework conditions and new challenges, first and foremost increasing life expectancy and the associated longer periods during which pensions are drawn, coupled with a simultaneous decline in the birth rate.
The question is therefore not whether reforms are necessary, but which ones and how they can best be implemented. The current question in Germany is whether and how a state (funded) fund can improve the financing of old-age provision and, if necessary, provide higher benefits for pensioners.
In view of the urgent need for action, our institute decided to look at and analyze the pension system in Germany and the reforms now (under consideration) in direct comparison with other European countries. For this purpose, the countries of comparison were selected on the basis of the ideal-type distinction of welfare states introduced by Esping-Andersen:
The liberal welfare state with a means test for state benefits, the conservative welfare state with a focus on social security and equivalence of benefits, and the social democratic welfare state with a universality of benefit provision. Of course, the states under consideration are not (or no longer) found in this ideal-typical pure form and have developed very differently. All the more so, the comparative analysis of several countries opens up very concise angles and gains in knowledge with regard to the research question.
Due to the high complexity of state or state-organized supply systems, qualitative research gains significantly in value. They make it possible to map the research questions from the perspective of relevant informants and experts in order to gain a better understanding of these complex systems and their effects, and to better understand the perspectives and interests of the different actors in the pension system.
In addition to a systematic comparison of the existing pension systems in the countries concerned on the basis of the current state of research, one focus of the study is on evidence-based interviews with selected experts in the field as well as with academic experts in the countries to be compared . This wealth of data and information is intended to open up new and critically reflective perspectives on potential reform projects in Germany.
From this explorative comparative study, we thus expect to gain evidence-based new suggestions with regard to the evaluation of different options for action in a possible reform of old-age security.
We look forward to presenting the contents and conclusions of this study to you at the end of the year. If you have any questions about the research and its content, please feel free to contact us.
Hans H. Melchiors