IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure

  • Leora Friedberg
  • Anthony Webb

Defined benefit pension plans have become considerably less common since the early 1980s, while defined contribution plans have spread. Previous research showed that defined benefit plans, with sharp incentives encouraging retirement after a certain point, contributed to the striking postwar decline in American retirement ages. In this paper we find that the absence of age-related incentives in defined contribution plans leads workers to retire almost two years later on average, compared to workers with defined benefit plans. Thus, the evolution of pension structure can help explain recent increases in employment among people in their 60s, after decades of decline.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9999.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Friedberg, Leora and Anthony Webb. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure." Journal of Human Resources 40, 2 (Spring 2005): 281-308.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9999
Note: AG LS
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Leora Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Technological Change on Older Workers: Evidence from Data on Computer Use," NBER Working Papers 8297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2003. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," NBER Working Papers 9999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph Quinn & Richard Burkhauser & Kevin Cahill & Robert Weathers, 1998. "Microeconometric Analysis of the Retirement Decision: United States," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 203, OECD Publishing.
  4. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1984. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual Versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 1290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 1999. "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 563-92, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Charles Brown, 2002. "Early Retirement Windows," Working Papers wp028, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  8. Leslie E. Papke, 1999. "Are 401(k) Plans Replacing Other Employer-Provided Pensions? Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 346-368.
  9. Leora Freidberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2002. "Not your father's pension plan: the rise of 401K and other defined contribution plans," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan., pages 23-34.
  10. Randall Filer & Marjorie Honig, 2005. "Endogenous Pensions and Retirement Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 1547, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
  12. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
  13. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security Incentives for Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Leora Friedberg & Michael Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the Evolution of Pension Structure and Job Tenure," NBER Working Papers 10714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Dora L. Costa, 1998. "The Evolution of Retirement: An American Economic History, 1880-1990," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number cost98-1, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9999. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.