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Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure

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  • Leora Friedberg
  • Anthony Webb

Abstract

Defined benefit pension plans have become considerably less common since the early 1980s, while defined contribution plans have spread. Previous research showed that defined benefit plans, with sharp incentives encouraging retirement after a certain point, contributed to the striking decline in American retirement ages. In this paper we find that the absence of agerelated incentives in defined contribution plans leads workers to retire almost two years later on average, compared to workers with defined benefit plans. Thus, the evolution of pension structure can help explain recent increases in the typical retirement age, after decades of decline.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 40 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:40:y:2005:i:2:p281-308

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Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1985. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 55-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Leora Freidberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2002. "Not your father's pension plan: the rise of 401K and other defined contribution plans," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan., pages 23-34.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  5. Charles Brown, . "Early Retirement Windows," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-17, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Randall Filer & Marjorie Honig, 2005. "Endogenous Pensions and Retirement Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 1547, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 1999. "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 563-92, September.
  8. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1989. "The Stampede Toward Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Fact or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 3086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Leora Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computer Use," NBER Working Papers 8297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
  11. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security Incentives for Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
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