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Did 401(k) Plans Replace Other Employer Provided Pensions?

Author

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  • Leslie E. Papke
  • Mitchell Petersen
  • James M. Poterba

Abstract

This paper reports the findings from a new survey of firms that provide 401(k) plans for their employees. Our results suggest that few 401(k) plans replaced pre-existing defined benefit pension plans, although a substantial fraction replaced previous defined contribution thrift and profit sharing plans. Our survey results also provide new evidence on patterns of 401(k) participation. We find significant persistence in firm-level participation rates from one year to the next, which supports the view that 401(k) participants are not making marginal decisions of whether or not to contribute to the plan in a given month, or even year, but rather make long-term commitments to participate in these plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie E. Papke & Mitchell Petersen & James M. Poterba, 1993. "Did 401(k) Plans Replace Other Employer Provided Pensions?," NBER Working Papers 4501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1988. "Pension Funding and Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 85-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. D'Andrade, Kendall, 1992. "The End of an Era," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 379-389, July.
    3. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
    4. Shefrin, Hersh M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 609-643, October.
    5. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1994. "401(k) Plans and Tax-Deferred Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 105-142 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Leslie E. Papke, 1995. "Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence from Plan Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 311-325.
    7. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kandice Kapinos, 2009. "On the Determinants of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Conversions," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 30(2), pages 149-167, June.
    2. Smith, Karen E. & Johnson, Richard W. & Muller, Leslie A., 2004. "Deferring Income in Employer–Sponsored Retirement Plans: The Dynamics of Participant Contributions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(3), pages 639-670, September.
    3. Gary V. Engelhardt, 2000. "Have 401(k)s Raised Household Saving? Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 33, McMaster University.
    4. Karen M. Pence, 2002. "401(k)s and household saving: new evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-6, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Julia Lynn Coronado & Phillip C. Copeland, 2003. "Cash balance pension plan conversions and the new economy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-63, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Kandice Kapinos, 2011. "Changes in Firm Pension Policy: Trends Away from Traditional Defined Benefit Plans," Working Papers 11-36, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 2004. "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Macro- and Microevidence," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 17-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1999. "Effects of pensions on savings: analysis with data from the health and retirement study," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 271-324, June.
    9. Bassett, William F. & Fleming, Michael J. & Rodrigues, Anthony P., 1998. "How Workers Use 401(K) Plans: The Participation, Contribution, and Withdrawal Decisions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(2), pages 263-289, June.
    10. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 2009. "The Effects Of Financial Education In The Workplace: Evidence From A Survey Of Employers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(4), pages 605-624, October.
    11. William Bassett, 1995. "Defined contribution plans: the role of income, age and match rates," Research Paper 9517, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    12. Stephanie Aaronson & Julia Lynn Coronado, 2005. "Are firms or workers behind the shift away from DB pension plan?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. 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.
    14. Robin Boadway & David Wildasin, 1994. "Taxation and savings: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 19-63, August.
    15. Kandice Kapinos, 2009. "On the Determinants of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Conversions," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 149-167, June.
    16. Duflo, Esther & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues' choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 121-148, July.
    17. Honekamp, Ivonne, 2008. "Effizienz der staatlichen Riester-Förderung - Eine empirische Analyse mit dem Sozio-oekonomischen Panel (SOEP)
      [Effectiveness of the public Riester subsidies - An empirical analysis using the Socio
      ," MPRA Paper 27020, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Benjamin, Daniel J., 2003. "Does 401(k) eligibility increase saving?: Evidence from propensity score subclassification," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1259-1290, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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