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Pension Plan Integration As Insurance Against Social Security Risk

In: Issues in Pension Economics

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  • Robert C. Merton
  • Zvi Bodie
  • Alan Marcus

Abstract

The manifest purposes of integrating an employer-provided pension plan with social security are:(1) to ensure retirement income adequacy for all covered employees; and (2) to ensure retirement income equity, defined as equal total replacement rates for all employees regardless of salary level. The focus of this paper, however, is on an equally important (and perhaps latent) consequence of integration: the alteration of the risk-bearing relationships between employees, employers and the government vis-a-vis social security benefits. The main alteration is that the employer in effect insures his covered employees against adverse changes in their social security retirement benefit. Using the option-pricing methodology of modern contingent claims analysis,we develop a formal model to explore the quantitative aspects of this change.While the focus of the analysis is on full integration, we do explicitly deal with various degrees of partial integration as is currently practiced. We also analyze the effects of a switch from a non-integrated to an equivalent-cost integrated plan when private benefits are fixed in nominal terms and when they are indexed. In this connection we examine how integrated plans are affected when the sponsor makes ad hoc post-retirement benefit increases. We also consider the incentive effects on worker mobility of the adoption of integrated plans. The analysis is also used to highlight what we believe to be important unintended consequences of integrating pension plans with social security.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6857.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6857

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    References

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    1. Constantinides, George M, 1978. "Market Risk Adjustment in Project Valuation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(2), pages 603-16, May.
    2. Fischer, Stanley, 1978. "Call Option Pricing when the Exercise Price Is Uncertain, and the Valuation of Index Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 169-76, March.
    3. Peter A. Diamond & James Mirrlees, 1985. "Insurance Aspects of Pensions," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 317-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lawrence H. Summers, 1983. "Observations on the Indexation of Old Age Pensions," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 231-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Zvi Bodie & James E. Pesando, 1982. "Retirement Annuity Design in an Inflationary Climate," NBER Working Papers 0896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Modigliani, Franco. & Cohn, Richard A., 1984. "Inflation and corporate financial management," Working papers 1572-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    7. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
    8. Merton, Robert C & Scholes, Myron S & Gladstein, Mathew L, 1982. "The Returns and Risks of Alternative Put-Option Portfolio Investment Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-55, January.
    9. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1982. "The Effect of Inflation on the Private Pension System," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 123-138 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gustman, A.L. & Mitchell, O.S. & Steinmeier, T.L., 1993. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market," Papers 93-07, Cornell - Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.
    2. Zvi Bodie & Alan J. Marcus & Robert C. Merton, 1985. "Defined Benefit versus Defined Contribution Pension Plans: What are the Real Tradeoffs?," NBER Working Papers 1719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Developments in Pensions," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-4, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Marie-Eve Lachance & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2002. "Understanding Individual Account Guarantees," NBER Working Papers 9195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bender, Keith A., 2009. "How are pension integration and pension benefits related?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 26-41, February.
    6. Dutta, Jayasri & Kapur, Sandeep & Orszag, J. Michael, 2000. "A portfolio approach to the optimal funding of pensions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 201-206, November.
    7. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1984. "'Precautionary' Saving Revisited: Social Security, Individual Welfare, and the Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 1430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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