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The Stampede Toward Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Fact or Fiction?

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  • Alan L. Gustman
  • Thomas L. Steinmeier

Abstract

This paper questions recent conclusions that the trend towards defined contribution plans and away from defined benefit plans is due to increased pension regulation and/or a changing economic environment. Using data from IRS 5500 filings by pension administrators, we find that at least half of the trend is due to a shifting employment mix toward firms with industry, size, and union status characteristics which have historically been associated with lower defined benefit plan rates. Not more than half of the trend can be attributed to a "stampede" by firms with given industry, size, and union status characteristics toward defined contribution pension coverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1989. "The Stampede Toward Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Fact or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 3086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3086 Note: LS
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    1. Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Smith, Daniel E., 1984. "Pensions in the American Economy," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226451466.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. John V. Duca, 2005. "Why Have U.S. Households Increasingly Relied On Mutual Funds To Own Equity?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(3), pages 375-396, September.
    3. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249 Elsevier.
    4. Palacios, Robert, 2006. "Civil-service pension schemes around the world," MPRA Paper 14796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Douglas L. Kruse, 1991. "Pension Substitution in the 1980s: Why the Shift Toward Defined Contribution Pension Plans?," NBER Working Papers 3882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Edward N. Wolff, 2005. "Is the Equalizing Effect of Retirement Wealth Wearing Off?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_420, Levy Economics Institute.
    7. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1999. "Pension plans and retirement incentives," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 20851, The World Bank.
    8. Edward N. Wolff, 2003. "The Devolution of the American Pension System: Who Gained and Who Lost?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 477-495, Fall.
    9. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    10. Friedberg Leora & Owyang Michael T & Sinclair Tara M, 2006. "Searching For Better Prospects: Endogenizing Falling Job Tenure and Private Pension Coverage," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, pages 1-42.
    11. Alicia H. Munnell & Kelly Haverstick & Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, 2006. "Job Tenure and Pension Coverage," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-18, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2006.
    12. Marilyn Clark-Murphy & Paul Gerrans & Craig Speelman, 2009. "Return Chasing as a Driver in Individual Retirement Savings Investment Choices: Evidence from Australia," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 4-19, March.
    13. Robert L. Clark & Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "Effects of Pensions on Labor Markets and Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 431, Boston College Department of Economics.

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