In the course of the project „Life Course, Ageing, and Well-Being“, the German Centre of Gerontology (DZA), the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) at DIW Berlin, and the German Federal Pension Insurance (DRV Bund) have analyzed the future old-age incomes of the German baby boomers (born between 1956 and 1965) against the background of their changing employment and family biographies. Thereby, the life courses of the baby boomer cohort were contrasted with the life courses of two older cohorts: the war cohort (born between 1936 and 1955) and the post-war cohort (born between 1945 and 1956).

The project aimed to answer the following research questions:

  • To what extent are the life courses of the baby boomers marked by increasing pluralism and discontinuity?
  • How will these changes affect the life situation of the baby boomers in old age and especially their old age incomes?

A further crucial question is, how should old-age security systems be structured and re-structured in order to accommodate non-traditional life-course patterns appropriately.

In order to deal with these questions, information stemming from the data sets of the three co-operating institutions, namely Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), Sample of Active Pension Accounts (VSKT) and German Ageing Survey (DEAS), was combined. Further, life courses of the baby boomers (and partly of the comparison cohorts) were projected into the future up to the age of 67.

Results show that the life courses of the baby boomer cohort differ considerably from those of the preceding cohorts. Taken as a whole, a distinct increase as to variety of employment and family employment patterns can be observed. Particularly in East Germany, employment biographies are commonly marked by discontinuity with comparably frequent or extended periods of unemployment. This development implies consequences for the old-age security. Particularly for East German men from the baby boomer cohort, lower pension entitlements as compared to the older cohorts can be expected.

Responsible (DZA): Prof. Dr. Andreas Motel-Klingebiel, Dr. Laura Romeu Gordo, Dr. Julia Simonson, Prof. Dr. Clemens Tesch-Römer, Nadiya Kelle

Project duration: Apr 1, 2009 to Nov 30, 2012

Literature:

  • Frick, J. R., Grabka, M. M., Rasner, A., Schmidt, M., Schuth, M. & Westermeier, C. (2012). Familienbiographische Verläufe im Kohortenvergleich. [SOEPpapers 439]. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  • Grabka, M. M., & Rasner, A. (2013). Fortschreibung von Lebensläufen bei Alterssicherungsanalysen – Herausforderungen und Probleme. In C. Vogel & A. Motel-Klingebiel (Hrsg.), Altern im sozialen Wandel: Die Rückkehr der Altersarmut? (S. 387–406). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
  • Kelle, N., Simonson J., & Romeu Gordo, L. (2012). Veränderte Erwerbsverläufe von Männern in Ost- und Westdeutschland: Ein Vergleich der Babyboomer mit älteren Kohorten. ifo Dresden berichtet 19(03), 24–29.
  • Rasner, A., Frick, J. R. & Grabka, M. M. (2013). Statistical Matching of Administrative and Survey Data, an application to wealth inequality analyses. Sociological Methods and Research. Published online 1 May 2013. DOI: 10.1177/0049124113486622.
  • Rasner, A., Frick, J. R., & Grabka, M. M. (2011). Extending the Empirical Basis for Wealth Inequality Research Using Statistical Matching of Administrative and Survey Data. [SOEPpapers 359]. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  • Rasner, A. (2013). Geschlechtsspezifische Rentenlücke – Reformen müssen im Erwerbsleben ansetzen. DGB Infobrief 1/2013.
  • Simonson, J., Kelle, N., Romeu Gordo, L., Grabka, M. M., Rasner, A., & Westermeier, C. (2012). Babyboomer – Mehr Brüche im Erwerbsleben, weniger Rente. Ostdeutsche Männer um 50 müssen mit geringeren Renten rechnen. DIW Wochenbericht 79(23); 3–13.
  • Simonson, J., Romeu Gordo, L., & Kelle, N. (2012). Statistical Matching of the German Aging Survey and the Sample of Active Pension Accounts as a Source for Analyzing Life Courses and Old Age Incomes. Historical Social Research 37, 185–210.
  • Simonson, J., Romeu Gordo, L. & Kelle, N. (2011). The Double German Transformation: Changing Male Employment Patterns in East and West Germany. SOEPpapers 391.
  • Simonson, J., Romeu Gordo, L. & Titova, N. (2011). Changing employment patterns of women in Germany: How do baby boomers differ from older cohorts? A comparison using sequence analysis. In M.P. Cutchin, C.L. Kemp & V.W. Marshall (Hrsg.), Researching Social Gerontology. Fundaments of Applied Research (Vol. 3: Social Institutions, the Lifecourse and Ageing (S. 201–234). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Simonson, J., Romeu Gordo, L., & Titova, N. (2011). Changing employment patterns of women in Germany: How do baby boomers differ from older cohorts? A comparison using sequence analysis. Advances in Life Course Research 16(2), 65–82.
  • Westermeier, C., Rasner, A., & Grabka, M. M. (2012). The Prospects of the Baby Boomers: Methodological Challenges in Projecting the Lives of an Aging Cohort. [SOEPpapers 440]. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.