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The Trouble with Pensions: Toward an Alternative Public Policy to Support Retirement


  • Yeva Nersisyan
  • L. Randall Wray


Pension funds have taken a big hit during the current financial crisis, with losses in the trillions of dollars. In addition, both private and public pensions are experiencing significant funding shortfalls, as is the government-run Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which insures the defined-benefit pension plans of private American companies. Yeva Nersisyan and Senior Scholar L. Randall Wray argue that the employment-based pension system is highly problematic, since the strategy for managing pension funds leads to excessive cost and risk in an effort to achieve above-average returns. The average fund manager, however, will only achieve the risk-free return. The authors therefore advocate expanding Social Security and encouraging private and public pensions to invest only in safe (risk-free) Treasury bonds--which, on average, will beat the net returns on risky assets.

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  • Yeva Nersisyan & L. Randall Wray, 2010. "The Trouble with Pensions: Toward an Alternative Public Policy to Support Retirement," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_109, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:levppb:ppb_109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dimitri B. Papadimitriou & L. Randall Wray, 2001. "Minsky's analysis of financial capitalism," Chapters,in: Financial Keynesianism and Market Instability, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. L. Randall Wray, 2008. "The Commodities Market Bubble: Money Manager Capitalism and the Financialization of Commodities," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_96, Levy Economics Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas I. Palley, 2010. "The economies of deleveraging: The aftermath of financialization," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 401-413.
    2. L. Wray, 2011. "Minsky's Money Manager Capitalism and the Global Financial Crisis," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 5-20.
    3. Marshall Auerback & L. Randall Wray, 2010. "Toward True Health Care Reform: More Care, Less Insurance," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_110, Levy Economics Institute.

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