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Explaining Pension Dynamics

  • Rebecca A. Luzadis
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Whether and how the labor market will adapt to anticipated changes in the workforce age distribution depends on how able companies are to induce desired turnover patterns among older and younger employees. This paper contends that companies can and will use pension plan provisions as powerful incentives to induce people to remain on their jobs, and perhaps even more importantly to leave at later ages. A longitudinal file of collectively bargained pension plans gathered by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is examined empirically. We find dramatic increases in benefit levels, reductions in early, normal and deferred retirement ages, and declines in the age at which pension present values peak (with retirement after that age penalized). Several explanations for these observed pension outcomes are evaluated empirically. We believe that these findings indicate how employer-provided pensions can and will play an important role in helping companies induce desired turnover patterns as the workforce ages.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 26 (1991)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 679-703

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:26:y:1991:i:4:p:679-703
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Olivia S. Mitchell & Emily S. Andrews, 1981. "Scale economies in private multi-employer pension systems," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 522-530, July.
  2. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Daniel A. Sumner, 1986. "Postretirement Adjustments of Pension Benefits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 118-137.
  3. Phillip B. Levine & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1988. "The Baby Boom's Legacy: Relative Wages in the 21st Century," NBER Working Papers 2501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & Rebecca A. Luzadis, 1988. "Changes in pension incentives through time," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(1), pages 100-108, October.
  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. Hutchens, Robert, 1986. "Delayed Payment Contracts and a Firm's Propensity to Hire Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-57, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  9. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions, The Option Value of Work, and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 2686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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