Is it all about access? Perceived access to occupational pensions in Germany
Bettina Lamla () and
Michela Coppola ()
No 201312, MEA discussion paper series from Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy
This paper provides an empirical analysis of what determines access to occupational pensions as perceived by workers. We investigate this issue in Germany, where workers have the legal right to an occupational pension since 2001, but many might lack the incentive or the ability to gather and process the relevant information to make use of their right. In particular, if workers rely exclusively on the information available at their firm, employers will continue to regulate access despite workersâ€™ rights. Our findings suggest that the current regulation in Germany has not resolved the problem of workersâ€™ ignorance of their access to occupational pensions. Only about half the workers are aware of having access to an occupational pension. We find that there is important heterogeneity in workersâ€™ perceptions, and that this heterogeneity is directly related to worker and firm-side factors as well as outcomes of the employer-employee match. Distorted perceptions have important consequences for workers, policy makers and firms. Workers can only make optimal savings decisions if they are aware of their savings possibilities. Policy makers could help by making information material about occupational pensions mandatory and/or by defining standardised information. A low level of knowledge of employees might also be frustrating for employers, as this would suggest that workers do not appreciate their occupational pension, limiting the power of occupational pension as a Human Resources tool.
JEL-codes: D83 J26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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