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Explaining the Evolution of Pension Structure and Job Tenure

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  • Leora Friedberg
  • Michael Owyang

Abstract

Current and expected job tenure have fallen significantly over the last two decades. Over the same period, traditional defined benefit pensions, designed to reward long tenure, have become steadily less common. This paper uses a contract-theoretic matching model with moral hazard to explain changes in pension structure and job tenure. In our model, a decline in the value of existing jobs relative to new jobs reduces expected match duration and thus the appeal of DB pensions. We show that this explanation is consistent with observed trends and suggests an additional consequence of technological change that has not been closely studied.

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  • Leora Friedberg & Michael Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the Evolution of Pension Structure and Job Tenure," NBER Working Papers 10714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10714
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    Cited by:

    1. Kandice Kapinos, 2009. "On the Determinants of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Conversions," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 30(2), pages 149-167, June.
    2. Cory Koedel & Michael Podgursky & Shishan Shi, 2013. "Teacher Pension Systems, the Composition of the Teaching Workforce, and Teacher Quality," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(3), pages 574-596, June.
    3. Joshua Rauh & Irina Stefanescu & Stephen Zeldes, 2013. "Cost shifting and the freezing of corporate pension plans," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-82, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Kandice Kapinos, 2011. "Changes in Firm Pension Policy: Trends Away from Traditional Defined Benefit Plans," Working Papers 11-36, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    5. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    6. Friedberg Leora & Owyang Michael T & Sinclair Tara M, 2006. "Searching For Better Prospects: Endogenizing Falling Job Tenure and Private Pension Coverage," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-42, August.
    7. Christian E. Weller, 2011. "What Does the Literature Tell Us About the Possible Effect of Changing Retirement Benefits on Public Employee Effectiveness?," Working Papers wp270, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    8. Ann Huff Stevens, 2005. "The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same: Trends in Long-term Employment in the United States, 1969-2002," NBER Working Papers 11878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Alicia H. Munnell & Kelly Haverstick & Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, 2006. "Job Tenure and Pension Coverage," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-18, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2006.
    10. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    11. Kandice Kapinos, 2012. "Changes in Firm Pension Policy: Trends Away from Traditional Defined Benefit Plans," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 91-103, March.
    12. Fred Robert-Nicoud (University of Geneva) & Niko Matouschek & Paolo Ramezzana (University of Virginia), 2004. "Labor Market Frictions, Job Insecurity and the Flexibility of the Employment Relationship," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 52, Econometric Society.
    13. Nicole Maestas & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2010. "How Longer Work Lives Ease the Crunch of Population Aging," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 139-160.
    14. Niko Matouschek & Paolo Ramezzana, 2004. "Labor Market Frictions, Job Insecurity, and the Flexibility of the Employment Relationship," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 28, Econometric Society.
    15. Kandice Kapinos, 2009. "On the Determinants of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Conversions," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 149-167, June.
    16. Leora Friedberg & Wei Sun & Anthony Webb, 2008. "What Effect Do Time Constraints Have on the Age of Retirement?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-17, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2008.
    17. Alicia H. Munnell & Dan Muldoon & Steven A. Sass, 2009. "Recessions and Older Workers," Issues in Brief ib2009-9-2, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jan 2009.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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