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Labor's Capital: The Economics and Politics of Private Pensions

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  • Teresa Ghilarducci

    ()
    (New School for Social Research)

Abstract

Why are pension funds so large and benefits so small? This examination of the 120-year-old American system of privatized social insurance--often called, at 1.7 trillion dollars, the biggest lump of money in the world--reveals that the system fails to provide adequate retirement income security, its most prominent goal, and, in fact, its greatest influence is in supplying funds to U.S. capital markets. Linking market forces, historical movements, and social norms in the evolution of pensions, Ghilarducci's study is the first to focus on all major aspects of the system. Its trenchant analysis of the many sides of pensions and pension policy addresses questions of whom the system benefits, its direct and social costs, and the possibilities of reforms that would take into account the related problems of capital formation and retirement income. Ghilarducci describes the history of pension funds and the involvement of unions in bargaining. She takes up the "moral hazard" involved in the conflicting interests of corporations and their employees, tackling issues of information availability and inequality of pension distribution based on sex, race, and job hierarchy. And in two chapters, each focusing on corporate and union uses of pension funds, she covers such topics as tax breaks, the effect of corporate takeovers, the use of pensions to pay back debt, and the kinds of skimming that can occur despite government regulation of pension activities. Ghilarducci concludes by presenting an ideal pension plan that would benefit both employer and employee and by offering predictions about pension plans of the future. Teresa Ghilarducci is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 0262071398 and published in 1992.

Volume: 1
Edition: 1
ISBN: 0-262-07139-8
Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262071398

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

Related research

Keywords: labor; pension; inequality;

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Cited by:
  1. James Banks & Carl Emmerson, 2000. "Public and private pension spending: principles, practice and the need for reform," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 1-63, March.
  2. William H. Lazonick & Mary O'Sullivan, . "Investment in Innovation, Corporate Governance and Employment: Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_37, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Gerard Hughes & Brian Nolan, 1999. "Competitive and Segmented Labour Markets and Exclusion from Retirement Income," Papers WP108, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  4. Sadowski, Dieter & Pull, Kerstin, 1995. "K├Ânnen betriebliche Sozialleistungen die staatliche Sozialpolitik entlasten?," Quint-Essenzen 45, Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Community (IAAEG), University of Trier.
  5. Anil Verma & Johanna Weststar, 2011. "Token Presence or Substantive Participation? A Study of Labor Trustees on Pension boards," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 39-60, March.
  6. Gerard Hughes & Brian Nolan, 1993. "Pensions and the Structure of the Labour Market: Evidence from Irish Data," Papers WP044, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  7. Codrina Rada, 2012. "The Economics of Pensions. Remarks on Growth, Distribution and Class Conflict," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2012_02, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  8. Palacios, Robert & Whitehouse, Edward, 2006. "Civil-service pension schemes around the world," MPRA Paper 14796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Whitehouse, Edward, 2000. "Pension reform, financial literacy and public information: a case study of the United Kingdom," MPRA Paper 10323, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Armando Barrientos, 1998. "Supplementary pension coverage in Britain," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 429-446, November.
  11. William H. Lazonick & Mary O'Sullivan, 1997. "Corporate Governance and Corporate Employment: Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_183, Levy Economics Institute.

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