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Trends in Pension Benefit Formulas and Retirement Provisions

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  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

Changes in pension plan retirement formulas and benefit provisions over the last decade are examined, drawing on data collected and tabulated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Survey of medium and large firms. The evidence shows that pension provisions have changed a great deal over the last decade, among both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. In the defined benefit environment, participation and vesting rules changed substantially; early retirement became more accessible and benefits somewhat more generous; normal retirement ages declined; and pension benefits were increasingly likely to depend on final rather than career earnings. Benefit integration with social security also grew to almost two-thirds of all participants in defined benefit plans. Overall, though pension replacement rates rose slightly over time, benefit ceilings remained pervasive for work at older ages and disability benefit provisions became more stringent. Defined contribution pension plans also changed a great deal over the decade of the 1980s. Workers were increasingly likely to be covered by combinations of defined benefit and defined contribution plans, with the latter usually a savings and thrift plan permitting a lump sum distribution. Profit sharing and stock plans appear to have stagnated during the latter part of the 1980s.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3744.

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Date of creation: Jun 1991
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Publication status: published as Mitchell, Olivia S. "Trends in Pension Benefit Formulas and Retirement Provisions." In Trends in Pensions 1992, edited by J. Turner and D. Beller. U.S. Dept. of Labor, 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3744

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  1. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262060914, December.
  2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Incentive Effects of Private Pension Plans," NBER Working Papers 1510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt, December.
  4. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, October.
  5. Olivia S. Mitchell & Rebecca A. Luzadis, 1988. "Changes in pension incentives through time," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(1), pages 100-108, October.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1990. "Pensions and the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1996. "Administrative Costs in Public and Private Retirement Systems," NBER Working Papers 5734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joseph F. Quinn, 1997. "Criteria for Social Security Reform," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 367, Boston College Department of Economics.
  3. Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "New Evidence on Pensions, Social Security, and the Timing of Retirement," NBER Working Papers 6534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell, . "New Trends in Pension Benefit and Retirement Provisions," Pension Research Council Working Papers 2000-1, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Jill Quadagno & Joseph Quinn, 1996. "Does Social Security Discourage Work?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 322., Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "The Labour Market, Retirement, and Disability," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 420, Boston College Department of Economics.

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