Pensions in the 2000s: the Lost Decade?
AbstractOne of the most dramatic changes in the retirement income system over the last three decades has been a decline in traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans and a corresponding rise in defined contribution (DC) pensions. Have workers benefited from this change? Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, I find that after robust gains in the 1980s and 1990s, pension wealth experienced a marked slowdown in growth from 2001 to 2007. Projections to 2009 indicate no increase in pension wealth from 2001 to 2009. Retirement wealth is also found to offset the inequality in standard household net worth. However, I find that pensions had a weaker offsetting effect on wealth inequality in 2007 than in 1989. As a result, whereas standard net worth inequality showed little change from 1989 to 2007, the inequality of private augmented wealth (the sum of pension wealth and net worth) did increase over this period. These results hold up even when Social Security wealth and employer contributions to DC plans are included in the measure of wealth and when adjustments are made for future tax liabilities on retirement wealth.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16991.
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Note: AG PR
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
- J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2011-05-07 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-05-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAB-2011-05-07 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Poterba, James M & Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1998. "401(k) Plans and Future Patterns of Retirement Saving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 179-84, May.
- Kopczuk, Wojciech & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004.
"Top Wealth Shares in the United States, 1916-2000: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 445-87, June Cita.
- Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Top Wealth Shares in the United States: 1916-2000: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns," NBER Working Papers 10399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William E. Even & David A. MacPherson, 1994.
"Why did male pension coverage decline in the 1980s?,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review,
ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 439-453, April.
- Even, W.E. & Macpherson, D.A., 1991. "Why Did Male Pension Coverage Decline in the 1980s?," Working Papers 1991_08_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
- Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale, 2000. "The Effects of 401(k) Plans on Household Wealth: Differences Across Earnings Groups," NBER Working Papers 8032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Simon Kuznets, 1950.
"Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings,"
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn50-1.
- Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1.
- repec:crr:issbrf:ib2006-50 is not listed on IDEAS
- Poterba, J.M. & Venti, S.F. & Wise, D.A., 1992.
"401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Savings,"
92-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- 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.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001.
"The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro and Micro Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
8610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 2004. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro- and Microevidence," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 17-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2011. "Pensions and Household Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 203-236.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996.
"Do 401(k) Contributions Crowd Out Other Persoanl Saving?,"
NBER Working Papers
4391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
- Poterba, James M & Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1994. "Targeted Retirement Saving and the Net Worth of Elderly Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 180-85, May.
- Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2011.
"How Did the Recession of 2007-2009 Affect the Wealth and Retirement of the Near Retirement Age Population in the Health and Retirement Study?,"
wp253, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2011. "How Did the Recession of 2007-2009 Affect the Wealth and Retirement of the Near Retirement Age Population in the Health and Retirement Study?," NBER Working Papers 17547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.