Chapter

The Evolution of Public Sector Pension Plans in the United States

Robert L. Clark, Lee A. Craig and Neveen Ahmed

in The Future of Public Employee Retirement Systems

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199573349
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191721946 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573349.003.0014
The Evolution of Public Sector Pension Plans in the United States

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Municipal governments in the United States began offering retirement plans for their workers in the mid-nineteenth century, and state governments followed in the early twentieth century. As these plans matured, they confronted economic, social, and political challenges, including the creation of the Social Security system, which subsequently shaped their structure, governance, and generosity. After reviewing this history, the authors employ data from all fifty states to estimate a pension benefit equation for hypothetical workers and explain differences in the generosity of plans across states and types of workers covered. The authors show that population growth, plan funding, union representation, and participation in Social Security influenced the generosity of the plans.

Keywords: pension history; pension funding; Normal Retirement Age; Social Security; replacement rates; Survey of State Pensions; union representation

Chapter.  11291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Management and Administration

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