IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Effect of Pension Plan Type on Retirement Age: Distinguishing Plan Incentives from Career Length Preferences


  • Colleen Flaherty Manchester

    () (Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, 321 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA)


This study uses the Retirement Confidence Survey of College and University Faculty, 2005, to examine the impact of pension plan incentives on retirement age and to understand how the widespread transition from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) plans has affected workers. Incentives stemming from differences in pension wealth accrual patterns between DB and DC plans directly induce up to a one-year difference in expected retirement age and are indirectly responsible for up to a two-year difference due to workers sorting into plans based on preferences over career length. The results imply that failing to account for worker sorting leads to an overestimation of the transition’s effect on the average retirement age of Americans. In addition, the findings suggest that individuals choose retirement plans to diversify retirement income, which has implications for Social Security reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Colleen Flaherty Manchester, 2010. "The Effect of Pension Plan Type on Retirement Age: Distinguishing Plan Incentives from Career Length Preferences," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 104-125, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:77:1:y:2010:p:104-125

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Gopi Shah Goda & Damon Jones & Colleen Flaherty Manchester, 2013. "Retirement Plan Type and Employee Mobility: The Role of Selection and Incentive Effects," NBER Working Papers 18902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ashok Thomas & Luca Spataro, 2013. "Pension funds and Market Efficiency: A review," Discussion Papers 2013/164, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:77:1:y:2010:p:104-125. 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: (Laura Razzolini). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.