Germany: A Successful Reversal of Early Retirement? | Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

Moritz Heß
Germany: A Successful Reversal of Early Retirement?

Pp. 147-169 in: Dirk Hofäcker, Moritz Heß, Stefanie König (Eds.): Delaying Retirement. Progress and Challenges of Active Ageing in Europe, the United States and Japan. 2016. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Until the early 1990s German pension policy was based on a culture of “early retirement.” The result was that retiring before the official retirement age was more the rule than the exception. In the 1990s policymakers became aware of the financial burden this policy of “early retirement” in combination with the aging of the German society was causing and introduced several reforms with the aim of prolonging work life. Consequently, the actual retirement age is rising and older workers’ employment rates are increasing. Conversely, highly educated white-collar workers are the ones profiting most from the policy shift, suggesting the reemergence of social inequality in the transition from work to retirement.