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Smoothing the waves of pension funding: Could changes in funding rules help avoid cyclical under-funding?

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  • Christian Weller
  • Dean Baker

Abstract

Defined benefit pensions are still an important part of retirement income security for 44 million people. After 2000, these plans experienced extreme difficulties. Although the magnitude of the problem was unprecedented, its causes were not. Interest rate and asset prices decline in a recession, when earnings are low. Pension funding rules reflect this regularity. This requires additional contributions when times are bad. We address this counter-cyclicality through three proposed rule changes. We use a simulation model to evaluate these. Our results indicate that counter-cyclicality would have diminished, while funding adequacy would have improved.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Policy Reform.

Volume (Year): 8 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 131-151

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:8:y:2005:i:2:p:131-151

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Related research

Keywords: Defined benefit pension plans; funding rules; discount rate; liability valuation; asset valuation JEL Classifications: G23; J26; J32; J38;

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  1. Alicia H. Munnell & Nicole Ernsberger (assistant), 1987. "Pension contributions and the stock market," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 3-14.
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