Some commentators view reforms to the German political economy since the 1990s as constituting a broad liberalisation of a previously coordinated market economy (e.g., Streeck, 2009). Others argue that by maintaining protection for core workers the reforms represent a dualisation rather than liberalisation (e.g., Palier and Thelen, 2010). This debate has paid little attention to public–private pension reform since 2001. This paper argues that pensions have been a crucial component of the German social model since 1957 and demonstrates why comprehensive analysis of its development must consider them. After summarising how public and occupational pensions have supported core German workers since 1957, the paper calculates core workers’ projected net pensions and those of less privileged employees before and after recent reforms. On this basis, it concludes that pension reforms have created a system more characteristic of a liberal than a dualised political economy. Since the reform, the projected pensions of today's young workers are closer to the poverty line, and the gap between the projected benefits of core and peripheral workers has narrowed. Increasingly, as young core workers age, they will thus have less incentive to invest in employer specific skills, a development that threatens the model as a whole.