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Guaranteeing Defined Contribution Pensions: The Option to Buy Back a Defined Benefit Promise

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  • Marie-Eve Lachance
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Kent Smetters

Abstract

After a long commitment to defined benefit (DB) pension plans for U.S. public sector employees, many state legislatures have introduced defined contribution (DC) plans for their public employees. In this process, investment risk that was previously borne by state DB plans has now devolved to employees covered by the new DC plans. In light of this trend, some states have introduced a guarantee mechanism to help protect DC plan participants. One such guarantee takes the form of an option permitting DC plan participants to buy back their DB benefit for a price. This article develops a theoretical framework to analyze the option design and illustrate how employee characteristics influence the option's cost. We illustrate the potential impact of a buy-back option in a pension reform enacted recently by the State of Florida for its public employees. If employees were to exercise the buy-back option optimally, the market value of this option could represent up to 100 percent of the DC contributions over their work life. Copyright 2003 The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The American Risk and Insurance Association in its journal Journal of Risk & Insurance.

Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:70:y:2003:i:1:p:1-16

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  1. Martin Feldstein, 2009. "Reducing the Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 201-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James F. Moore & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Projected Retirement Wealth and Saving Adequacy," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-1, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Bodie, Zvi, 1990. "Pensions as Retirement Income Insurance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 28-49, March.
  4. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Social Security Money's Worth," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-20, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Model of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 363-84, March.
  6. Margrabe, William, 1978. "The Value of an Option to Exchange One Asset for Another," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 177-86, March.
  7. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1997. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Olivia S. Mitchell & Flavio Ataliba Barreto, . "After Chile, What? Second-Round Social Security Reforms in Latin America," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-4, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Developments in Pensions," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-4, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
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Cited by:
  1. Olivia S. Mitchell & Alexander Muermann, 2003. "The Demand for Guarantees in Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts," Working Papers wp060, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. Sule Sahin & Adem Yavuz Elveren, 2009. "A Cost Analysis of a Minimum Pension Guarantee for the Individual Pension System in Turkey," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2009_13, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  3. Olivia S. Mitchell & John Piggott & Michael Sherris & Shaun Yow, 2006. "Financial Innovation for an Aging World," NBER Working Papers 12444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & David McCarthy, 2002. "Annuities for an Ageing World," CeRP Working Papers 21, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  5. Muermann, Alexander & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Volkman, Jacqueline M., 2006. "Regret, portfolio choice, and guarantees in defined contribution schemes," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 219-229, October.
  6. Ngee-Choon Chia & Albert K C Tsui, 2005. "Reverse Mortgages as Retirement Financing Instrument : An Option for “Asset-rich and Cash-poor†Singaporeans," Finance Working Papers 22566, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  7. Ngee-Choon Chia & Albert K C Tsui, 2005. "Medical Savings Accounts in Singapore: How much is adequate?," SCAPE Policy Research Working Paper Series 0502, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics, SCAPE.
  8. Ngee-Choon Chia & Albert K C Tsui, 2005. "Reverse Mortgages as Retirement Financing Instrument: An Option for “Asset-rich and Cash-poor” Singaporeans," SCAPE Policy Research Working Paper Series 0503, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics, SCAPE.

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