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The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises

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  • Robert Novy-Marx
  • Joshua D. Rauh

Abstract

We calculate increases in contributions required to achieve full funding of state and local pension systems in the U.S. over 30 years. Without policy changes, contributions would have to increase by 2.5 times, reaching 14.1% of the total own-revenue generated by state and local governments. This represents a tax increase of $1,385 per household per year, around half of which goes to pay down legacy liabilities while half funds the cost of new promises. We examine sensitivity to asset return assumptions, wage correlations, the treatment of workers not currently in Social Security, and endogenous geographical shifts in the tax base.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2012. "The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises," NBER Working Papers 18489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18489
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bo Zhao & David Coyne, 2017. "Walking a Tightrope: Are U.S. State and Local Governments on a Fiscally Sustainable Path?," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 3-23, September.
    2. Matthew M. Chingos & Martin R. West, 2015. "Which Teachers Choose a Defined Contribution Pension Plan? Evidence from the Florida Retirement System," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 193-222, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • H74 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Borrowing

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