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Why Do Pensions Reduce Mobility?


  • Steven G. Allen
  • Robert L. Clark
  • Ann A. McDermed


Previous studies have found that workers who are covered by pensions are much less likely than other workers to leave their jobs, but the evidence on how specific pension characteristics affect turnover is inconclusive. This paper examines how mobility is affected by vesting standards, the compensation level, and the capital loss of pension wealth for job changers. In two different data sets, we find that the capital loss is strongly associated with lower turnover rates, whereas vesting and the compensation level have relatively little impact. Large capital losses are mainly associated with lower layoff rates rather than lower quit rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Ann A. McDermed, 1988. "Why Do Pensions Reduce Mobility?," NBER Working Papers 2509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2509
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard A. Ippolito, 1987. "Why Federal Workers Don't Quit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 281-299.
    2. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    3. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1982. "Fringe Benefits and Labor Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 286-298.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robin L. Lumsdaine & David A. Wise, 1994. "Aging and Labor Force Participation: A Review of Trends and Explanations," NBER Chapters,in: Aging in the United States and Japan: Economic Trends, pages 7-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Vincenzo Andrietti & Vincent Hildebrand, 2001. "Pension Portability and Labour Mobility in the United States. New Evidence from SIPP Data," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 42, McMaster University.
    3. Andrietti, Vincenzo & Hildebrand, Vincent, 2004. "Evaluating pension portability reforms. the tax reform act of 1986 as a natural experiment," UC3M Working papers. Economics we045220, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    4. Ashok Thomas & Luca Spataro, 2016. "The Effects Of Pension Funds On Markets Performance: A Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 1-33, February.
    5. Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2004. "Pension choices and job mobility in the UK," UC3M Working papers. Economics we043713, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    6. Ashok Thomas & Luca Spataro, 2013. "Pension funds and Market Efficiency: A review," Discussion Papers 2013/164, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    7. Andrietti, Vincenzo, 2000. "Occupational pensions and interfirm job mobility in the European Union. Evidence from the ECHP survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-07, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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