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Timing of Retirement Plan Contributions and Investment Returns: The Case of Defined Benefit versus Defined Contribution

Listed author(s):
  • Dvorak Tomas

    ()

    (Union College)

Registered author(s):

    This paper examines the impact of the timing of contributions to defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) plans on investment returns. I show that net contributions to DB plans are counter-cyclical, while net contributions to DC plans are uncorrelated with the business cycle. Given the past mean reversion in equity prices, the counter-cyclicality of net contributions to DB plans means that dollar-weighted returns on DB plans are higher than the geometric average of annual returns. Therefore, using dollar-weighted returns as a measure of investment performance, the advantage of DB plans over DC plans is greater than using geometric average returns. Overall, I find that dollar-weighted returns on DB plans are more than one percentage point higher than that on DC plans.

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    File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2012.12.issue-1/1935-1682.3110/1935-1682.3110.xml?format=INT
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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (May)
    Pages: 1-26

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:1:n:23
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    1. Ilia D. Dichev, 2007. "What Are Stock Investors’ Actual Historical Returns? Evidence from Dollar-Weighted Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 386-401, March.
    2. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    3. Dichev, Ilia D. & Yu, Gwen, 2011. "Higher risk, lower returns: What hedge fund investors really earn," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 248-263, May.
    4. Poterba, James & Rauh, Joshua & Venti, Steven & Wise, David, 2007. "Defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, and the accumulation of retirement wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 2062-2086, November.
    5. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 2001. "Valuation Ratios and the Long-Run Stock Market Outlook: An Update," NBER Working Papers 8221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Friesen, Geoffrey C. & Sapp, Travis R.A., 2007. "Mutual fund flows and investor returns: An empirical examination of fund investor timing ability," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 2796-2816, September.
    7. Ronald Balvers & Yangru Wu & Erik Gilliland, 2000. "Mean Reversion across National Stock Markets and Parametric Contrarian Investment Strategies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 745-772, 04.
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