Since 2002 the German government seeks to stimulate private retirement savings by means of
special allowances and tax exemptions – the so-called Riester scheme. We apply matching
and panel regression techniques to assess the impact of the Riester scheme on households’
propensities to save in a natural experiment framework. Estimation results from both the
German Socio-Economic Panel and the SAVE study indicate that private saving was hardly
affected by the introduction of the Riester scheme.
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