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Worker Knowledge of Pension Provisions

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  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

This paper evaluates the quality of workers' information regarding pension offerings using both administrative records and worker reports of pension provisions. Missing and misinformation proves to be widespread. Unionized employees, higher income workers and those in large firms, the better educated, and those with greater seniority are better informed about their pensions. There are also demographic differences: nonwhites have less pension knowledge than whites, but women are better informed than men along several pension dimensions. Myopia about pension incentive structures is troubling since workers may save or consume suboptimally, change jobs, or retire earlier than they would have if equipped with better pension information. The prevalence of missing data should also be troubling to empirical pension analysts using data sets reporting workers' assessments of pension provisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivia S. Mitchell, 1987. "Worker Knowledge of Pension Provisions," NBER Working Papers 2414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2414
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Olivia S. Mitchell & Gary S. Fields, 1981. "The Effects of Pensions and Earnings on Retirement: A Review Essay," NBER Working Papers 0772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Pozzebon, Silvana & Mitchell, Olivia S, 1989. "Married Women's Retirement Behavior," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 2(1), pages 39-53.
    3. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1987. "Pension Inequality," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 341-364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1988. "An Analysis Of Pension Benefit Formulas, Pension Wealth And Incentives From Pensions," NBER Working Papers 2535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
    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. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-532, October.
    8. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    9. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, May.
    10. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1984. "Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262060914, February.
    11. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1982. "Fringe Benefits and Labor Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 286-298.
    12. Olivia S. Mitchell & Rebecca A. Luzadis, 1985. "Firm-Level Policy Toward Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 1579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark, 1985. "Unions, Pension Wealth, and Age-Compensation Profiles," NBER Working Papers 1677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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