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Funding in Public Sector Pension Plans - International Evidence

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  • Eduard Ponds
  • Clara Severinson
  • Juan Yermo

Abstract

Most countries have separate pension plan for public sector employees. The future fiscal burden of these plans can be substantial as the government usually is the largest employer, pension promises in the public sector tend to be relatively generous, and future payments have to be paid out directly from government revenues (pay-as-you-go) or by funded plans (pension funds) which tend to be underfunded. The valuation and disclosure of these promises in some countries lacks transparency, which may be hiding potentially huge fiscal liabilities that are being passed on to future generations of workers. In order to arrive at a fair comparison between countries regarding the fiscal burden of their DB public sector pension plans, this paper gathers more evidence on public sector pension plans regarding the type of pension promise and quantifies the future tax burden related to these pension promises. The reported liabilities are recalculated using both a fair value approach (local market discount rates) and a common, fixed discount rate across all countries which reflects projected growth in national income. We also estimate for a number of plans from a sample of OECD countries the size of the net unfunded liabilities in fair value terms as of the end of 2008. This fiscal burden can also be interpreted as the implicit pension debt in fair value terms.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduard Ponds & Clara Severinson & Juan Yermo, 2011. "Funding in Public Sector Pension Plans - International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 17082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17082 Note: PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Disney & Carl Emmerson & Gemma Tetlow, 2009. "What is a Public Sector Pension Worth?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages 517-535, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:insuma:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:182-196 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Damiaan Chen & Roel Beetsma & Dirk Broeders, 2015. "Stability of participation in collective pension schemes: An option pricing approach," DNB Working Papers 484, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Dobbelaere, Sabien & Kiyota, Kozo, 2017. "Labor Market Imperfections, Markups and Productivity in Multinationals and Exporters," IZA Discussion Papers 11225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Beetsma, Roel & Lekniute, Zina & Ponds, Eduard, 2017. "U.S. municipal yields and unfunded state pension liabilities," CEPR Discussion Papers 11998, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Meijdam, A.C. & Ponds, E.H.M., 2013. "On the Optimal Degree Of Funding Of Public Sector Pension Plans," Discussion Paper 2013-011, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Ponds, E.H.M. & Severinson, C. & Yermo, J., 2012. "Implicit debt in public sector plans : An international comparison," Other publications TiSEM 8263bb65-8b50-4890-9252-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration

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