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The Economics of State and Local Public Pensions

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Robert Clark
  • Joshua Rauh

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of an economics-based perspective on the financial aspects of state and local public pensions in the U.S. Drawing on the research commissioned for an NBER research program on this topic, we discuss the large degree to which public pension liabilities exceed the assets set aside to fund them. We summarize issues related to the optimality of pre-funding, portfolio allocation, the discounting of liabilities, as well as how plans operate in practice. We also lay out an agenda for future research related to financial aspects of public pensions, retiree health plans for public employees, as well as issues related to plan design and labor market outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16792.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Publication status: published as “The Economics of State and Local Pensions.” Journal of Pension Economics and Finance. Vol . 10(2): pages 161 - 172. April 2011. With Robert Clark and Joshua Rauh.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16792

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  1. Jeffrey R. Brown & David W. Wilcox, 2009. "Discounting State and Local Pension Liabilities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 538-42, May.
  2. Deborah Lucas, 2007. "Valuing & Hedging: Defined Benefit Pension Obligations - The Role of Stocks Revisited," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006, Money Macro and Finance Research Group 169, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  3. Friedberg, Leora, 2011. "Labor market aspects of state and local retirement plans: a review of evidence and a blueprint for future research," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 337-361, April.
  4. Munnell, Alicia H. & Aubry, Jean-Pierre & Quinby, Laura, 2011. "Public pension funding in practice," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 247-268, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Dashle Kelley, 2014. "The political economy of unfunded public pension liabilities," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 21-38, January.
  2. Hasan U. Altiok & Glenn Jenkins, . "The Pension Traps of Northern Cyprus," Development Discussion Papers, JDI Executive Programs 2012-03, JDI Executive Programs.
  3. Glenn P. Jenkins & Hasan U. Altiok, 2013. "The Fiscal Burden of the Legacy of the Civil Service Pension Systems in Northern Cyprus," Development Discussion Papers, JDI Executive Programs 2013-06, JDI Executive Programs.
  4. Hasan U. Altiok & Glenn Jenkins, 2012. "Social Security Reforms in Northern Cyprus: Are they Fiscally Balanced and Socially Equitable?," Development Discussion Papers, JDI Executive Programs 2012-02, JDI Executive Programs.
  5. Joelle H. Fong & John Piggott & Michael Sherris, 2012. "Public Sector Pension Funds in Australia: Longevity Selection and Liabilities," Working Papers, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales 201217, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.

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