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Cash-Balance Plan Conversions: Evidence on Excise Taxes and Implicit Contracts

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  • Greg Niehaus
  • Tong Yu
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    Abstract

    Firms that wish to switch from a traditional defined-benefit pension plan to a defined-contribution-type plan have a choice between converting to a cash-balance plan or replacing the defined-benefit plan with a full-fledged defined-contribution plan. According to Ippolito and Thompson's (1999; "Industrial Relations", 39: 228-245) excise tax avoidance hypothesis, a number of firms have switched to cash-balance plans because conversion allows the firm to avoid excise taxes on its excess pension assets. In contrast to existing studies, our evidence supports the excise tax avoidance hypothesis. Cash-balance plan conversions also have been criticized for imposing pension losses on older employees. The implicit contract theory of pensions predicts that poorly performing firms would be the ones that would impose losses on employees. However, our evidence indicates that firms converting to cash-balance plans typically are not poor performers. Copyright The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1539-6975.2005.00125.x
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 72 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 321-352

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:72:y:2005:i:2:p:321-352

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    Cited by:
    1. Cathy Beaudoin & Nandini Chandar & Edward M. Werner, 2010. "Are potential effects of SFAS 158 associated with firms' decisions to freeze their defined benefit pension plans?," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(4), pages 424 - 451, November.
    2. Kandice Kapinos, 2009. "On the Determinants of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Conversions," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 149-167, June.
    3. Broeders, Dirk & Chen, An, 2010. "Pension regulation and the market value of pension liabilities: A contingent claims analysis using Parisian options," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1201-1214, June.
    4. Kandice Kapinos, 2009. "On the Determinants of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Conversions," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 149-167, June.
    5. Kandice Kapinos, 2012. "Changes in Firm Pension Policy: Trends Away from Traditional Defined Benefit Plans," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 91-103, March.
    6. Kandice Kapinos, 2011. "Changes in Firm Pension Policy: Trends Away from Traditional Defined Benefit Plans," Working Papers 11-36, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Dirk Broeders & An Chen & David Rijsbergen, 2011. "Valuation of Liabilities in Hybrid Pension Plans," DNB Working Papers 326, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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