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Do 401(k) Plans Replace Other Employer-Provided Pensions?

In: Advances in the Economics of Aging

  • Leslie E. Papke
  • Mitchell A. Petersen
  • James M. Poterba

This paper reports the findings from a new survey of firms that provide 401(k) plans for their employees. Our results suggest that few 401(k) plans replaced pre-existing defined benefit pension plans, although a substantial fraction replaced previous defined contribution thrift and profit sharing plans. Our survey results also provide new evidence on patterns of 401(k) participation. We find significant persistence in firm-level participation rates from one year to the next, which supports the view that 401(k) participants are not making marginal decisions of whether or not to contribute to the plan in a given month, or even year, but rather make long-term commitments to participate in these plans.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 1996. "Advances in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise96-1, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7326.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7326
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. 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.
    2. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1985. "Pension Funding and Saving," NBER Working Papers 1622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
    5. Shefrin, Hersh M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 609-43, October.
    6. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, May.
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