IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/22321.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Political Economy of Underfunded Municipal Pension Plans

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey Brinkman
  • Daniele Coen-Pirani
  • Holger Sieg

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of underfunding of local government's pension funds using a politico-economic overlapping generations model. We show that a binding downpayment constraint in the housing market dampens capitalization of future taxes into current land prices. Thus, a local government's pension funding policy matters for land prices and the utility of young households. Underfunding arises in equilibrium if the pension funding policy is set by the old generation. Young households instead favor a policy of full funding. Empirical results based on cross-city comparisons in the magnitude of unfunded liabilities are consistent with the predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Brinkman & Daniele Coen-Pirani & Holger Sieg, 2016. "The Political Economy of Underfunded Municipal Pension Plans," NBER Working Papers 22321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22321
    Note: AG PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22321.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 11330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Azzimonti, Marina & Battaglini, Marco & Coate, Stephen, 2016. "The costs and benefits of balanced budget rules: Lessons from a political economy model of fiscal policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 45-61.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzetto, Giacomo A.M., 2014. "Shrouded costs of government: The political economy of state and local public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-105.
    4. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2008. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation, and Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 201-236, March.
    5. Bohn, Henning, 2011. "Should public retirement plans be fully funded?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 195-219, April.
    6. John P. Conley & Robert Driskill & Ping Wang, 2019. "Capitalization, decentralization, and intergenerational spillovers in a Tiebout economy with a durable public good," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(1), pages 1-27, February.
    7. Marina Azzimonti, 2011. "Barriers to Investment in Polarized Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2182-2204, August.
    8. Donald R. Haurin & Patric H. Hendershott & Susan M. Wachter, 1996. "Borrowing Constraints and the Tenure Choice of Young Households," NBER Working Papers 5630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, September.
    10. Iacoviello, Matteo & Pavan, Marina, 2013. "Housing and debt over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 221-238.
    11. Robert Novy‐Marx & Joshua Rauh, 2011. "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(4), pages 1211-1249, August.
    12. John Conley & Antonio Rangel, 2001. "Intergenerational Fiscal Constitutions: How to Protect Future Generations Using Land Taxes and Federalism," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 28(17), pages 1.
    13. Patrick Bajari & Phoebe Chan & Dirk Krueger & Daniel Miller, 2013. "A Dynamic Model Of Housing Demand: Estimation And Policy Implications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(2), pages 409-442, May.
    14. Andrew Glover & Jonathan Heathcote & Dirk Krueger & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2020. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(10), pages 3730-3778.
    15. Marco Bassetto, 2008. "Political Economy of Taxation in an Overlapping-Generations Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 18-43, January.
    16. Inman, Robert P., 1982. "Public employee pensions and the local labor budget," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 49-71, October.
    17. Schultz, Christian & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2001. "Local public goods, debt and migration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 313-337, May.
    18. Peter Linneman & Susan Wachter, 1989. "The Impacts of Borrowing Constraints on Homeownership," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 389-402, December.
    19. Peter M. Zorn, 1989. "Mobility‐Tenure Decisions and Financial Credit: Do Mortgage Qualification Requirements Constrain Homeownership?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-16, March.
    20. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
    21. Dennis Epple & Katherine Schipper, 1981. "Municipal pension funding: A theory and some evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 141-178, January.
    22. Mumy, Gene E, 1978. "The Economics of Local Government Pensions and Pension Funding," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 517-527, June.
    23. Sutirtha Bagchi, 2013. "The Effects of Political Competition on the Funding and Generosity of Public-Sector Pension Plans," 2013 Papers pba941, Job Market Papers.
    24. Alicia H. Munnell & Jean-Pierre Aubry, 2016. "GASB 68: How Will State Unfunded Pension Liabilities Affect Big Cities?," Issues in Brief ibslp47, Center for Retirement Research.
    25. Gerhard Glomm & Roger Lagunoff, 1999. "A Dynamic Tiebout Theory of Voluntary versus Involuntary Provision of Public Goods," Game Theory and Information 9901002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Levon Barseghyan & Stephen Coate, 2017. "On the Dynamics of Community Development," NBER Working Papers 23674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bernardo P. Schettini & Rafael Terra, 2020. "Electoral incentives and Public Employees’ Retirement Systems in Brazilian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 184(1), pages 79-103, July.
    2. Sutirtha Bagchi, 2013. "The Effects of Political Competition on the Funding and Generosity of Public-Sector Pension Plans," 2013 Papers pba941, Job Market Papers.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzetto, Giacomo A.M., 2014. "Shrouded costs of government: The political economy of state and local public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-105.
    4. Dashle Kelley, 2014. "The political economy of unfunded public pension liabilities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 21-38, January.
    5. Bagchi, Sutirtha, 2019. "The effects of political competition on the generosity of public-sector pension plans," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 439-468.
    6. Mohan, Nancy & Zhang, Ting, 2014. "An analysis of risk-taking behavior for public defined benefit pension plans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 403-419.
    7. Marco Bassetto, 2009. "The Research Agenda: Marco Bassetto on the Quantitative Evaluation of Fiscal Policy Rules," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(2), April.
    8. Dongwoo Kim & Cory Koedel & P. Brett Xiang, 2019. "The Trade-off Between Pension Costs and Salary Expenditures in the Public Sector," Working Papers 1913, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    9. Deng, Yongheng & Ross, Stephen L. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Racial differences in homeownership: the effect of residential location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 517-556, September.
    10. Ben Backes & Ben Backes & Dan Goldhaberb & Cyrus Grout & Cory Koedel & Shawn Ni & Michael Podgursky & P. Brett Xiang & Zeyu Xu, 2015. "Benefit or Burden? On the Intergenerational Inequity of Teacher Pension Plans," Working Papers 1517, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Apr 2016.
    11. Tetsuo Ono & Yuki Uchida, 2018. "Political Economy of Taxation, Debt Ceilings, and Growth," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 18-22, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    12. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2012. "Fiscal Imbalances and Borrowing Costs: Evidence from State Investment Losses," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 182-213, May.
    13. Yanbin Chen & Fangxing Li & Zhesheng Qiu, 2013. "Housing and Saving with Finance Imperfection," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 207-248, May.
    14. Ono, Tetsuo, 2019. "Growth, Unemployment, And Fiscal Policy: A Political Economy Analysis," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(8), pages 3099-3139, December.
    15. Hülya Eraslan & Kirill Evdokimov & Jan Zápal, 2020. "Dynamic Legislative Bargaining," ISER Discussion Paper 1090, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    16. Sprunger, Philip & Wilson, John Douglas, 1998. "Imperfectly Mobile Households and Durable Local Public Goods: Does the Capitalization Mechanism Work?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 468-492, November.
    17. Alessandro Riboni & Facundo Piguillem, 2011. "Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures," 2011 Meeting Papers 1320, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    18. Christian Dippel, 2019. "Political Parties Do Matter in U.S. Cities ... For Their Unfunded Pensions," NBER Working Papers 25601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Godbout, Luc & Trudel, Yves & St-Cerny, Suzie, 2013. "Le régime de rentes du Québec : le rendement différencié selon l’année de prise de la retraite de 1968 jusqu’en 2056," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 89(2), pages 89-113, Juin.
    20. Crawford, Rowena & Disney, Richard, 2014. "Reform of police pensions in England and Wales," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 62-72.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22321. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.