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Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice

In recent years a decline in the labor force participation of older workers has combined with rapid current and projected increases in the number of older Americans, producing major policy debates over looming "crises" in social security and, to a lesser extent, in the private pension system. That private system is playing an increasing role in the support of retired workers and promises to be the subject of increasing scrutiny by economists and policymakers alike.

Previous books on private pensions have largely neglected behavioral implications of the features of pension plans. The papers in this volume, developed from material presented at a recent National Bureau of Economic Research conference, address two aspects of the relation between varieties of labor coverage and participation in the labor force. First, age at retirement may be correlated with kind of pension coverage. The papers, in fact, provide strong evidence that individual decisions about when to retire are directly influenced by pension options. Second, pension plans usually impose a high cost on workers who change jobs, which suggests that pension coverage reduces instances of job change. Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice quantifies these correlations and proposes a conceptual framework within which to view them.

464 pages | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1985

National Bureau of Economic Research Project Report

Economics and Business: Business--Industry and Labor

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Overview
David A. Wise
2. Pensions and the Labor Market: A Starting Point (The Mouse Can Roar)
David T. Ellwood
Comment: Zvi Bodie
3. Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual versus Spot Labor Markets
Laurence J. Kotlikoff
David A. Wise
Comment: Zvi Bodie
4. Unions, Pensions, and Union Pension Funds
Richard B. Freeman
Comment: Albert Rees
5. Determinants of Pension Benefits
Paul Taubman
Comment: Victor R. Fuchs
6. Social Security, Health Status, and Retirement
Jerry A. Hausman
David A. Wise
Comment: Gary Burtless
7. The Distributional Impact of Social Security
Michael D. Hurd
John B. Shoven
Comment: Henry J. Aaron
8. The Structure of Uncertainty and the Use of Nontransferable Pensions as a Mobility-Reduction Device
W. Kip Viscusi
Comment: Sherwin Rosen
9. Incentive Effects of Pensions
Edward P. Lazear
Comment: Roger H. Gordon
10. Pensions and the Retirement Decision
Barry Nalebuff
Richard J. Zeckhauser
11. Insurance Aspects of Pensions
Peter A. Diamond
James A. Mirrlees
Comment: Robert C. Merton
12. The Riskiness of Private Pensions
Jerry R. Green
Comment: Alan J. Auerbach
13. The Relationship between Wages and Benefits
Jeremy Bulow
Wayne Landsman
Comment: Daniel Feenberg
14. The Federal Civil Service Retirement System: An Analysis of Its Financial Condition and Current Reform Proposals
Herman B. Leonard
Comment: Paul A. Samuelson
List of Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

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