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Pensions as Retirement Income Insurance

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  • Bodie, Zvi

Abstract

This paper develops the view that employer-sponsored pension plans are best understood as retirement income insurance for employees and from that perspective addresses a number of questions regarding the reasons for their existence, their design, and their funding and investment policies. The most important of these questions are: - Why do employers provide pension plans for their employees and why is participation usually mandatory? - Why is the defined benefit form of pension plan the dominant one rather than defined contribution? - Why are the payout options under most plans limited to life annuities? - Why are most plans integrated with Social Security? - Why don't corporate pension plans follow the extreme funding and asset allocation policies that seem to be optimal from the perspective of shareholder wealth maximization? - Why do employers often make ad hoc increases in pension benefits not strictly required under the formula in defined benefit plans? - Why don't private pensions offer inflation insurance?

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 28 (1990)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 28-49

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:28:y:1990:i:1:p:28-49

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  1. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Introduction to "Pensions in the U.S. Economy"," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "What Are Corporate Pension Liabilities?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 435-52, August.
  3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," UCLA Economics Working Papers 151, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, July.
  5. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262060914, December.
  6. repec:fth:stanho:e-88-29 is not listed on IDEAS
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