IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Did Pension Plan Accounting Contribute to a Stock Market Bubble?

  • Julia Lynn Coronado

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Steven A. Sharpe

    (Federal Reserve Board)

During the 1990s the assets of corporate defined-benefit pension plans ballooned with the booming stock market. Under current accounting guidelines, the result was a substantial but stealthy boost to sponsoring firms' profits. This study assesses the extent to which investors were fooled by pension accounting. It finds that stock prices reflected not the fair market value of sponsoring firms' net pension assets, as reported in the footnotes to their financial statements, but rather some capitalization rate on pension cost accruals in the income statement. Additional tests indicate that the market values a firm's pension earnings no differently from its core earnings, suggesting that pension earnings are often overvalued. This failure to differentiate induces large valuation errors for many firms, although this does not seem to translate into aggregate overvaluation, at least not before 2001, when falling stock prices and interest rates slashed pension net asset values but not pension earnings.

If 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.

File URL: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Programs/ES/BPEA/2003_1_bpea_papers/2003a_bpea_coronado.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 34 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 323-371

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:34:y:2003:i:2003-1:p:323-371
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: (202) 797-6000
Fax: (202) 797-6004
Web page: http://www.brookings.edu/economics.aspx
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market: A Survey of the Literature," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 417-438, April.
  2. Barth, Mary E. & Beaver, William H. & Landsman, Wayne R., 1992. "The market valuation implications of net periodic pension cost components," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 27-62, March.
  3. Steven A. Sharpe, 2002. "How does the market interpret analysts' long-term growth forecasts?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-7, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Irwin Tepper, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Pension Policy," NBER Working Papers 0661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven, 1983. "Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi83-1, October.
  6. Alicia H. Munnell & Nicole Ernsberger (assistant), 1987. "Pension contributions and the stock market," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 3-14.
  7. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G, 1981. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 781-93, May.
  8. Sharpe, William F., 1976. "Corporate pension funding policy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 183-193, June.
  9. Jeremy I. Bulow & Randall Morck & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "How Does the Market Value Unfunded Pension Liabilities?," NBER Working Papers 1602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Zvi Bodie & Jay O. Light & Randall Morck, 1987. "Funding and Asset Allocation in Corporate Pension Plans: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 15-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Tepper, Irwin, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Pension Policy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 1-13, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:34:y:2003:i:2003-1:p:323-371. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer Ambrosino)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.