IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/umc/wpaper/1517.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Benefit or Burden? On the Intergenerational Inequity of Teacher Pension Plans

Author

Listed:
  • Ben Backes

    (American Institutes for Research)

  • Ben Backes

    (American Institutes for Research)

  • Dan Goldhaberb

    (American Institutes for Research and University of Washington)

  • Cyrus Grout

    (University of Washington)

  • Cory Koedel

    () (University of Missouri)

  • Shawn Ni

    () (University of Missouri)

  • Michael Podgursky

    () (University of Missouri)

  • P. Brett Xiang

    (University of Missouri)

  • Zeyu Xu

    (American Institutes for Research)

Abstract

Most public school teachers in the United States are enrolled in defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Using administrative micro data from four states, combined with national pension funding data, we show these plans have accumulated substantial unfunded liabilities – effectively debt – owing to previous plan operations. On average across 49 state plans, an amount that exceeds 10 percent of current teachers’ earnings is being set aside to pay for previously-accrued pension liabilities. To the extent that the costs of the unfunded liabilities drag on teacher compensation, they may exacerbate problems of teacher recruitment and retention. We briefly discuss three policy changes that could end or reduce the accumulation of unfunded liabilities in educator pension plans: (1) transition teachers to defined-contribution retirement plans, (2) transition teachers to cash-balance retirement plans, and (3) tighten the link between funding and benefit formulas within the current defined-benefit structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Backes & Ben Backes & Dan Goldhaberb & Cyrus Grout & Cory Koedel & Shawn Ni & Michael Podgursky & P. Brett Xiang & Zeyu Xu, 2015. "Benefit or Burden? On the Intergenerational Inequity of Teacher Pension Plans," Working Papers 1517, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Apr 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1517
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/sites/default/files/wp-files/wp1517_koedel_ni_podgursky_0.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Koedel, C. & Podgursky, M., 2016. "Teacher Pensions," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzetto, Giacomo A.M., 2014. "Shrouded costs of government: The political economy of state and local public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-105.
    3. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1994. "The Role of Pensions in the Labor Market: A Survey of the Literature," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 417-438, April.
    4. Richard A. Ippolito, 2002. "Stayers as "Workers" and "Savers": Toward Reconciling the Pension-Quit Literature," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 275-308.
    5. Robert M. Costrell & Michael Podgursky, 2009. "Peaks, Cliffs, and Valleys: The Peculiar Incentives in Teacher Retirement Systems and Their Consequences for School Staffing," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(2), pages 175-211, April.
    6. Janet S. Hansen, 2010. "An Introduction to Teacher Retirement Benefits," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 402-437, October.
    7. Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens, 2008. "What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 253-266, May.
    8. Gollier, Christian, 2008. "Intergenerational risk-sharing and risk-taking of a pension fund," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1463-1485, June.
    9. Cui, Jiajia & Jong, Frank De & Ponds, Eduard, 2011. "Intergenerational risk sharing within funded pension schemes," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 1-29, January.
    10. Robert Novy‐Marx & Joshua Rauh, 2011. "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(4), pages 1211-1249, August.
    11. William E. Even & David A. MacPherson, 1996. "Employer Size and Labor Turnover: The Role of Pensions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 707-728, July.
    12. Cory Koedel & Shawn Ni & Michael Podgursky, 2014. "Who Benefits from Pension Enhancements?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 9(2), pages 165-192, March.
    13. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
    14. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2007. "Future Social Security Entitlements and the Retirement Decision," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 234-246, May.
    15. Michael DeArmond & Dan Goldhaber, 2010. "Scrambling the Nest Egg: How Well Do Teachers Understand Their Pensions, and What Do They Think about Alternative Pension Structures?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 558-586, October.
    16. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua Rauh, 2014. "The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 193-229, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:tpr:edfpol:v:14:y:2019:i:2:p:327-354 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kim, Dongwoo & Koedel, Cory & Ni, Shawn & Podgursky, Michael, 2017. "Labor market frictions and production efficiency in public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 54-67.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pensions; teacher pensions; pension liabilities; pension debt; teacher quality;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1517. 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: (Valerie Kulp). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/edumous.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.