Pensioner, Inequality, Inequality Decomposition, German Sample Survey
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We employ German Sample Survey Income data to examine income inequality and
the financial situation of elderly citizens for the period from 1978 to 2003, focussing on
differences between retired and non-retired elderly and between elderly with residence in the
Old and the New German Laender. Inter-temporal changes in income inequality are also
decomposed by income sources. To our knowledge, this is the first study that provides
comparable and detailed longitudinal income statistics for the German elderly. We find some
remarkable inter-temporal patterns. First, the financial situation of the elderly has improved
substantially over time. This is true especially for the New Laender, although elderly with
residence in the Old Laender remain financially privileged. Within the same age cohort, we
also find that non-retired, on average, are financially better-off compared to retired elderly.
For reunified Germany, inequality is astonishingly stable over time, but rises significantly
since 1993 in the New German Laender.
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