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Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence from Plan Data

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  • Leslie E. Papke

Abstract

401(k) plans differ from traditional employer-sponsored pension plans in that employees are permitted to make voluntary pre-tax contributions. Hence, the sensitivity of participation and contributions to plan characteristics-notably the employer matching rate-may play a critical role in retirement saving. Using plan level data from Form 5500s filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service, I find that substantial increases occur when an employer moves from a zero to a small or moderately sized match; but that at higher match rates employee contributions fall.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie E. Papke, 1995. "Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence from Plan Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 311-325.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:30:y:1995:i:2:p:311-325
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 1994. "Why Did Male Pension Coverage Decline in the 1980s?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 439-453, April.
    2. Woodbury, Stephen A & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992. "Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 287-296, May.
    3. Montgomery, Edward & Shaw, Kathryn & Benedict, Mary Ellen, 1992. "Pensions and Wages: An Hedonic Price Theory Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 111-128, February.
    4. D'Andrade, Kendall, 1992. "The End of an Era," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 379-389, July.
    5. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1994. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 105-142 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Schiller, Bradley R & Weiss, Randall D, 1980. "Pensions and Wages: A Test for Equalizing Differences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 529-538, November.
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    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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