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Pensions, social security, and the distribution of wealth

Author

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  • Arthur B. Kennickell
  • Annika E. Sunden

Abstract

This paper uses the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) to examine pension coverage, estimate Social Security and pension wealth for U.S. households in 1989 and 1992, and estimate the effects of pension wealth on non-pension net worth. As expected, the SCF data show that including pensions and Social Security in net worth makes the distribution more even. The analysis of the effects of pension wealth on other types of savings indicates that there is a negative effect of defined benefit plan coverage on non-pension net worth. Surprisingly, the effect of defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans is insignificant.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur B. Kennickell & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Pensions, social security, and the distribution of wealth," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1997-55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
    5. Shefrin, Hersh M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 609-643, October.
    6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    7. Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & King, Mervyn, 1984. "Pension wealth and household savings: Tests of robustness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 115-139.
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    14. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Andrew A. Samwick & Thomas L. Steinmeier, "undated". "Pension and Social Security Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-3, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas DEBARSY & Jean-Yves GNABO & Malik KERKOUR, 2016. "Sovereign Wealth Funds’ cross-border investments: assessing the role of country-level drivers and spatial competition," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 2173, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    2. Karen M. Pence, 2002. "401(k)s and household saving: new evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-6, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1999. "Effects of pensions on savings: analysis with data from the health and retirement study," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 271-324, June.
    4. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2003. "A Rolling Tide: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth in the U.S., 1989-2001," Others 0311002, EconWPA.
    5. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2003. "A rolling tide: changes in the distribution of wealth in the U.S., 1989-2001," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2009. "Ponds and streams: wealth and income in the U.S., 1989 to 2007," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    Keywords

    Pensions ; Social security ; Wealth;

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