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Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure

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  • Leora Friedberg
  • Anthony Webb

Abstract

Defined benefit pension plans have become considerably less common since the early 1980s, while defined contribution plans have spread. Previous research showed that defined benefit plans, with sharp incentives encouraging retirement after a certain point, contributed to the striking postwar decline in American retirement ages. In this paper we find that the absence of age-related incentives in defined contribution plans leads workers to retire almost two years later on average, compared to workers with defined benefit plans. Thus, the evolution of pension structure can help explain recent increases in employment among people in their 60s, after decades of decline.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9999.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Publication status: published as Friedberg, Leora and Anthony Webb. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure." Journal of Human Resources 40, 2 (Spring 2005): 281-308.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9999

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  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1985. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 55-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
  3. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security Incentives for Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1989. "The Stampede Toward Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Fact or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 3086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Charles Brown, 2003. "Early Retirement Windows," Working Papers wp064, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  8. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 1999. "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 563-92, September.
  9. Leora Friedberg, 2003. "The impact of technological change on older workers: Evidence from data on computer use," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 511-529, April.
  10. Randall K. Filer & Marjorie Honig, 2005. "Endogenous Pensions and Retirement Behavior," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 410, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  11. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Leora Freidberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2002. "Not your father's pension plan: the rise of 401K and other defined contribution plans," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan., pages 23-34.
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