19 de novembro de 2011

Merkel não tem razão quanto à idade de reforma dos portugueses e dos espanhóis

O bold é meu.

Our methodology provides two measures of a country’s ‘natural’ retirement age. The raw predictor, described in Figure 2 and a linear fit as plotted in Figure 3. Both of these benchmarks provide a yardstick to assess common arguments in on-going political debates. For example, Greece, Spain and Portugal are frequently accused of retiring too early. In particular, the German chancellor Angela Merkel requested that people in Southern Europe should not ‘be able to retire earlier than in Germany’.

This argument seems far-fetched when observing that the effective age of retirement in Greece exceeds that of Germany by about 27 month. Indeed, observing these inconsistencies, the Financial Times Deutschland writes that “Merkel's push for a comparison here is both unnecessary and absurd.”

However, when accounting for differences in occupational compositions, the picture is somewhat altered. Greek excess retirement age over the German one shrinks considerably to less than 20 months (see Figure 2). Moreover, when refining the predicted occupational distribution with a linear fit, as done in Figure 3, the overall picture turns upside down. The German retirement age is exactly on the trend line, while Greece is far below the sample prediction. Indeed, the figure suggests that Greeks retire much earlier than Germans when correcting for the occupational distributions.1 In light of the cross-country differences in occupations, Mrs Merkel’s statements appear potentially unnecessary but certainly less absurd.

The case is, however, different when considering Spain and Portugal. Figure 2 shows that Spaniards work as long as Americans when accounting for the occupational distribution. Figure 3 illustrates that this statement also applies for the fitted line in the extended sample and, indeed, Spaniards do not retire later than Germans. And there is no reason to criticise Portugal. Figures 2 and 3 show that the Portuguese retire very late compared to Americans or, indeed, Germans. Thus, Mrs Merkel does seem to miss the point when criticising Spain and Portugal.

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