Haan, Peter and Prowse, Victoria (2012): Longevity, life-cycle behavior and pension reform.
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How can public pension systems be reformed to ensure fiscal stability in the face of increasing life expectancy? To address this pressing open question in public finance, we use micro data to estimate a structural life-cycle model of individuals' employment, retirement and consumption decisions. Our modeling approach allows life expectancy and the nature of the public pension system to influence the decisions of forward-looking individuals planning for retirement. We calculate that, in the case of Germany, an increase of 4.34 years in the full pensionable age or a cut of 37.7% in the per-year value of public pension benefits would offset the fiscal consequences of the 6.4 year increase in age 65 life expectancy anticipated to occur over the next 40 years. Of these two approaches to coping with the fiscal impact of improving longevity, increasing the full pensionable age generates the largest responses in labor supply and retirement behavior.