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Deferring Income in Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: The Dynamics of Participant Contributions

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Author Info

  • Karen E. Smith

    ()
    (Urban Institute)

  • Richard W. Johnson

    ()
    (Urban Institute)

  • Leslie A. Muller

    ()
    (Social Security Administration)

Abstract

This paper describes contributions to employer-sponsored retirement accounts, using newly available longitudinal data that combine administrative earnings records with survey data. The results reveal a fair amount of individual variability in contribution rates over time. However, potential negative shocks to income and increases in current consumption needs do not appear to lead workers to curtail their contributions. Instead, workers appear to raise their contribution rates after they have achieved key milestones in the lifecourse, such as the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number 2004-20.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:2004-20

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Keywords: retirement plans; contribution rates; saving; pension;

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References

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  1. Mitchell, Olivia S, 1988. "Worker Knowledge of Pension Provisions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 21-39, January.
  2. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Decisions, and the Path of Least Resistance," JCPR Working Papers 257, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  3. Jonathan Skinner, 1991. "Individual Retirement Accounts: A Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Johnson, Richard W & Sambamoorthi, Usha & Crystal, Stephen, 2000. "Pension Wealth at Midlife: Comparing Self-Reports with Provider Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 59-83, March.
  5. Leslie E. Papke & Mitchell A. Petersen & James M. Poterba, 1996. "Do 401(k) Plans Replace Other Employer-Provided Pensions?," NBER Chapters, in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 219-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
  7. Leslie E. Papke, 1992. "Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence om Plan Data," NBER Working Papers 4199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Choices, and the Path of Least Resistance," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 67-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rudolph G. Penner & Richard W. Johnson, 2006. "Health Care Costs, Taxes, and the Retirement Decision: Conceptual Issues and Illustrative Simulation," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-20, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2006.
  2. Irena Dushi & Marjorie Honig, 2007. "Are 401(k) Saving Rates Changing? Cohort/Period Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers wp160, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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