The Economic Functions of Private Pensions: An Empirical Analysis
This paper presents an empirical analysis of the economic functions of defined benefit ( DB) pensions. Firms providing pensions choose between DB and defined contribution formats. The latter is essentially a tax-preferred savin gs account; the former may fill other roles. Determinants of firms' c hoice of plan are estimated using plan sponsors' reports to the Inter nal Revenue Service. Firms that are larger, unionized, employ mainly one sex, invest in specific training, and pay lower wages are more li kely to provide DB coverage. These results suggest that the economic role of pensions is broader than mere provision of tax-preferred savi ngs accounts. Copyright 1987 by University of Chicago Press.