Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence om Plan Data
401(k) plans differ from traditional employer-sponsored pension plans in that employees are permitted to make pre-tax contributions and the employer may match pan of the contribution. Since participation in these plans is voluntary, the sensitivity of participation and contributions to plan characteristics - notably the employer matching rate -- will play a critical role in retirement saving. Using plan level data from Form 5500s filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service, I find that there is potential for expanding retirement saving through 401(k) plans although there is evidence that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 reduced their attractiveness. Annual employee contributions were reduced by about 4 percent compared to the prior year after controlling for employer match rates. A simple model of employee contributions predicts that participation should increase with the match rate, and that, under reasonable assumptions, contributions will increase as well, but can eventually fall at higher match rates. I find evidence of both these effects. A .05 increase in the matching rate is associated with one to five percent increase in employee contributions.
|Date of creation:||Oct 1992|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Human Resources, vol. 30, no. 2, Spring 1995, pp. 311-325.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- William E. Even & David A. MacPherson, 1994.
"Why did male pension coverage decline in the 1980s?,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review,
ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 439-453, April.
- William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 1994. "Why Did Male Pension Coverage Decline in the 1980s?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 439-453, April.
- Even, W.E. & Macpherson, D.A., 1991. "Why Did Male Pension Coverage Decline in the 1980s?," Working Papers 1991_08_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
- Woodbury, Stephen A & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992.
"Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 287-96, May.
- Daniel S. Hamermesh & Stephen A. Woodbury, 1990. "Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty," NBER Working Papers 3455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephen A. Woodbury & Daniel S. Hamermesh, . "Taxes, Fringe Benefits, and Faculty," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles saw1992, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
- Edward B. Montgomery & Kathryn Shaw & Mary Ellen Benedict, 1990.
"Pensions and Wages: An Hedonic Price Theory Approach,"
NBER Working Papers
3458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Montgomery, Edward & Shaw, Kathryn & Benedict, Mary Ellen, 1992. "Pensions and Wages: An Hedonic Price Theory Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 111-28, February.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1994.
"401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Saving,"
in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 105-142
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1992. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Saving," NBER Working Papers 4181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Poterba, J.M. & Venti, S.F. & Wise, D.A., 1992. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Savings," Working papers 92-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Schiller, Bradley R & Weiss, Randall D, 1980. "Pensions and Wages: A Test for Equalizing Differences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 529-38, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4199. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.