NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Central Policies for Local Debt: The Case of Teacher Pensions

Robert P. Inman, David J. Albright

NBER Working Paper No. 2166
Issued in February 1987
NBER Program(s):   PE

The recent debt crises in New York City and Cleveland, the deterioration of public infra-structures in certain of our states and larger cities, and the occasional bankruptcy of smaller pension plans suggest that not all of local finance stands on a sound fiscal base. This paper examines the trends in funding for one form of state and local government debt--teacher pensions underfundings -- and asks what a central government might do to check any unwanted growth in these liabilities. The analysis concludes (i) that this form of state-local debt is sizeable and growing, (ii) that state and local governments have an implicit pay-as-you-go bias in pension financing which encourages the growth of debt, but (iii) central government benefit and funding regulations or debt relief policies can slow, or even reverse, that growth.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2166

Published: Published as "Appraising the Funding Status of Teacher Pensions: An Econometric Approach", NTJ, Vol. 39, no. 1 (1986): 21-34.

 
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