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Unions, Pensions, and Union Pension Funds

In: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice

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Author Info

  • Richard B. Freeman

Abstract

This paper examines the role of trade unions as determinants of: pension coverage, expenditures by firms for pensions; the provisions of pension plans; and pension fund investments. It also examines the impact of union pensions on the age-earnings profile of union workers. It has four basic findings:(1) Unions greatly increase pension coverage, and alter the determinants of coverage, in ways that go beyond the monopoly wage effects of unionism.(2) Unions alter the provisions of pension plans in ways that benefit senior workers and that equalize pensions among workers.(3) Estimates of the age-earnings profile of union workers are seriously flawed by failure to take account of the union impact on pensions, which generally enhance the earnings of the oldest groups.(4) Union pension funds can and do shun the stocks of nonunion firms without lowering the value of the portfolio. Investments in actual projects which take lower returns are, up to a point, justifiable in terms of the full economic benefit accruing to workers.

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This chapter was published in:

  • David A. Wise, 1985. "Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise85-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7131.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7131

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    Cited by:
    1. Mohan, Nancy & Zhang, Ting, 2014. "An analysis of risk-taking behavior for public defined benefit pension plans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 403-419.
    2. David Weil, 2004. "Individual Rights and Collective Agents. The Role of Old and New Workplace Institutions in the Regulation of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 13-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. An, Heng & Huang, Zhaodan & Zhang, Ting, 2013. "What determines corporate pension fund risk-taking strategy?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 597-613.
    4. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    5. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1993. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark, 1987. "Pensions and Firm Performance," NBER Working Papers 2266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2000. "Occupational pension coverage in the European Union. An empirical analysis," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-14, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Daniel A. Sumner, 1984. "Post-Retirement Adjustments of Pension Benefits," NBER Working Papers 1364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang & Wang, Yijiang, 2010. "Union effects on performance and employment relations: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 202-210, March.
    10. David Weil, 2003. "Individual Rights and Collective Agents: The Role of Old and New Workplace Institution in the Regulation of Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 9565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1988. "An Analysis Of Pension Benefit Formulas, Pension Wealth And Incentives From Pensions," NBER Working Papers 2535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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