Pension (economy)

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The term annuity describes an income that is drawn without current consideration , for example from invested capital . The word comes from French and is derived from the Italian 'rendita'.

In many cases, a pension is understood as a regular payment, often in the same amount. However, there are other uses within economics . The only thing that is uniform is that such income is drawn without any direct consideration.

In day-to-day life, pension (at least in Germany) means old-age provision instruments , initially - because of their frequency - the pension from the statutory pension scheme, which is not discussed further here .

There are also old-age pensions from private pension insurance (endowment insurance) . The latter principle is a further development of the Tontine, first set up in 1653 by the Italian doctor Lorenzo Tonti in Paris . This was set up as a life annuity ; the Leibgedinge follows a related concept.

Another example is the land rent , which is the payments a tenant has to make to the owner of the land.

This principle of rent was passed on through analogy. The British economist Alfred Marshall coined the term producer surplus in his book Principles of Economics , published in 1890 .

Today the term pension can be found in many areas of economics.


In economics , the term pension is used in many ways. In microeconomics , it describes the difference between a price that is acceptable for an economic actor and the market price. It also comes into play as part of the transfer payments through the payments made under the statutory pension schemes .

Consumer and producer surplus

A distinction is made in microeconomic analysis between consumer surplus and producer surplus . For consumers, this is the difference between what they are willing to pay for a certain good and what they actually have to pay for it. The opposite describes the producer surplus, the difference between the barely acceptable price and the actual market price. See also economic rent .

Economic rent

In classical economics , a distinction is made between the three production factors labor, capital and land. The part of production that goes to the workers for the provision of work is called wages , and that part of the production that goes to the lenders of capital for them is called interest. Finally, the part of production that is paid for letting land to landowners is economic rent.

According to more modern definitions, economic rent can also denote any payment for the provision of raw materials, licenses to use intellectual property, and so on. In neoclassical theory , economic rent generally denotes the difference between the yield from the current use and a possible better use ( opportunity costs ).

Information pension

If a market participant receives a certain (additional) income only on the basis of certain information that he gives, he receives an information pension . An example of this is the reimbursement of costs that an entrepreneur receives as part of deregulation . If the market participant indicates higher costs than he actually incurs, he receives an information pension. The political pension is closely linked to this.

Another definition of information rent relates to the privatization of information. A market participant who has certain information exclusively receives an additional pension which corresponds to the monopoly rent of the producer. See also Cournot point .

Political pension

The political pension describes an (additional) income without compensation through sovereign action by the state, for example laws that provide some with higher income. In political science, the payment of military and development aid is sometimes referred to as a pension. Calling these as a pension is questionable: The payment of development or military aid is not based on the interest of using a good (e.g. the land for leasing) on ​​the part of the payer. The receipt of such funds is based on the interest of the paying state in another, either in terms of development policy or to support a state in a strategically important region. This makes it clear that the "pension" -paying state has a genuine interest in the appropriate use of its payment. In the case of military aid, the money is spent on weapons, often at producers of the state paying the military aid. Development aid is also not appropriated without direct consideration: If the developing country (a prominent example is Zimbabwe ) does not behave in the way the payer has in mind when using this money, the development country's support is often stopped. It is therefore inadmissible to call development aid a pension.


In business finance theory , in particular the corporate finance , will yield securities often referred to as bonds called. The provision of outside capital is followed by periods with payments in the same amount, the interest payment , until the end of the agreed term . The amount of the interest payment to be made periodically is independent of the market price of the security and is based on the nominal or nominal value of the security.

Business Mathematics

The Business Mathematics provides their methods economics particularly in the form of financial mathematics and actuarial science available. Further connections between economics and mathematics can be found in Operations Research and Econometrics .

Financial math

In financial mathematics, an annuity is a recurring payment. Economics is interested in how a recurring payment can be converted into a one-off payment, and vice versa. The corresponding sub-area of ​​financial mathematics is pension calculation . A basic distinction is made between an advance pension (pränumerando), if it is paid at the beginning, and an additional pension (postnumerando), if it is paid at the end of a period. The perpetual annuity (also perpetuity ), which does not have an end of term, is a special case .

The recipient of a recurring payment is commonly referred to as a rentier .

The various uses of the term in the areas of finance and insurance are derived from this.


The benefit from a pension insurance is called a pension. Basically, these are also recurring payments to the service recipient. A distinction is made between statutory and private pension insurance , whereby the basic idea is the same for both, but there are major differences in terms of both design and financing. In both cases, there is a payment phase, during which contributions are paid in, and a payment phase, during which entitlement to the pension exists. The old-age pension is usually paid from reaching a minimum age up to the death of the beneficiary; in the case of private pension insurance, maximum and minimum terms can also be set or until both partners in a cohabitation have died. Furthermore, disability pensions are paid from the occurrence of the event that results in the incapacity for work until the ability to work is restored or the retirement pension is reached. Orphan's pensions are paid up to the age of majority, and in some cases longer.

The pensions for civil servants to follow, at least in terms of recurring payments, the same principle. In Austria, employees as well as blue-collar workers and civil servants receive pensions.

The recipients of pensions in the sense of the statutory pension insurance are called pensioners , while the recipients of pensions are called pensioners .


  • Olivier Blanchard , Gerhard Illing : Makroökonomie (original title: Macroeconomics , translated and edited by Gerhard Illig), 5th, updated and expanded edition, Pearson, Munich / Boston, MA 2009, ISBN 978-3-8273-7363-2 (textbook with online Additions).
  • Alois Geyer, Michael Hanke, Edith Littich, Michaela Nettekoven: Fundamentals of financing: understand - calculate - decide . In: Linde international . Fachbuch Wirtschaft , 3rd edition, Linde, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-7143-0165-6 .
  • Ulrich Pape: Fundamentals of Financing and Investment . With case studies and exercises [textbook]. Oldenbourg, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-58862-0 .
  • Robert S. Pindyck, Daniel L. Rubinfeld: Microeconomics (original title: Microeconomics , translated by Anke Kruppa and Peggy Plötz-Steger), 7th, updated edition, Pearson, Munich / Boston, MA 2009, ISBN 978-3-8273-7282 -6 (textbook with online publications).

Web links

Wiktionary: pension  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations