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Pension Reform Preferences in Germany: Does Information Matter?

Paper by Jana Schuetz, Silke Uebelmesser & Co-Authors has been accepted for publication by the European Journal of Political Economy
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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. Using representative survey data from Germany, we conduct a survey experiment to investigate whether salience or information about demographic change increases preferences for reforms in general and for specific reform measures. We find that salience and information provision increase the perceived necessity for reforms. Furthermore, salience increases preferences for raising the retirement age over other reform measures, while information provision reduces preferences for tax subsidies. In addition, we highlight the impact of prior beliefs on the treatment effects. As the salience and information treatments hardly differ, we conclude that it is not so much the information about the demographic change, which matters. Rather, being made aware of the challenges facing the pension system affects reform preferences.