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Simulating Utah State Pension Reform


  • Richard W. Evans

    () (Department of Economics, Brigham Young University)

  • Kerk L. Phillips

    () (Department of Economics, Brigham Young University)


In 2008, the Utah Retirement System experienced a negative return of almost 25 percent on its portfolio. This resulted in an underfunding of the pension system. In 2010 the Utah legislature reformed state pension participation, placing all new employees hired after mid-2011 in a new hybrid pension system. Employees hired prior to July 2011 continue to participate in the previous defined benefits program. This paper models and simulates the effects of Utah's pension reform on the balance in the defined benefits fund. In our baseline simulations, we find that the recent reform has extended fund solvency, but not eliminated the threat. Our simulations show that there is at least a ten percent chance of pension fund insolvency sometime in the next two decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard W. Evans & Kerk L. Phillips, 2012. "Simulating Utah State Pension Reform," BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory Working Paper Series 2012-01, Brigham Young University, Department of Economics, BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory.
  • Handle: RePEc:byu:byumcl:201201

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    Cited by:

    1. Clark, Robert L. & Hanson, Emma & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2016. "Lessons for public pensions from Utah's move to pension choice," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 285-310, July.

    More about this item


    Pension reform; Numerical simulation; Simulation modeling; State pensions; Utah;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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