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Analysis of Pension Funding Under Erisa

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  • Jeremy I. Bulow

Abstract

This paper begins by describing the tax, funding, and insurance aspects of the Pension Reform Act of 1974. Next, the implications of those laws are analyzed from the standpoint of the funding decision of the firm. The tax advantage of early funding appears to be quite small. Because there are insurance and other reasons (related to asymmetries in the pension law) why firms might wish to underfund their plans, there is no good reason to expect all firms to fund to the limit. The final section discusses the magnitude of the firms' unfunded pension liability, properly defined. This debt is shown to be quite small. A major reason for this is the substantial increase in long- term nominal interest rates, which have decreased the present value of accrued benefits and, equally, unfunded pension obligations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy I. Bulow, 1979. "Analysis of Pension Funding Under Erisa," NBER Working Papers 0402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0402
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeremy I. Bulow & Myron S. Scholes, 1983. "Who Owns the Assets in a Defined-Benefit Pension Plan?," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 17-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1982. "The Effect of Inflation on the Private Pension System," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 123-138 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1985. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 55-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeremy I. Bulow & Myron S. Scholes & Peter Menell, 1983. "Economic Implications of ERISA," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 37-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pesando, James E, 1984. "Employee Evaluation of Pension Claims and the Impact of Indexing Initiatives," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(1), pages 1-17, January.
    6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Incentive Effects of Private Pension Plans," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 283-340 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "Pension Backloading, Wage Taxes, and Work Disincentives," NBER Working Papers 2463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Economic Determinants of the Optimal Retirement Age: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 245-262.
    9. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1981. "Tax Aspects of Corporate Pension Funding Policy," NBER Working Papers 0724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Inflation and the Valuation of Corporate Equities," NBER Working Papers 0824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jeremy I. Bulow & John B. Shoven, 1982. "Inflation, Corporate Profits, and the Rate of Return to Capital," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 233-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. repec:eee:advacc:v:29:y:2013:i:2:p:186-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "Private Pensions as Corporate Debt," NBER Chapters,in: The Changing Roles of Debt and Equity in Financing U.S. Capital Formation, pages 75-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Edward P. Lazear, 1985. "Incentive Effects of Pensions," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 253-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Martin Feldstein & Randall Morck, 1983. "Pension Funding Decisions, Interest Rate Assumptions, and Share Prices," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 177-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Feldstein, Martin & Seligman, Stephanie, 1981. "Pension Funding, Share Prices, and National Savings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 801-824, September.
    17. Jeremy I. Bulow, 1981. "Early Retirement Pension Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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