NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Did 401(k) Plans Replace Other Employer Provided Pensions?

Leslie E. Papke, Mitchell Petersen, James M. Poterba

NBER Working Paper No. 4501 (Also Reprint No. r2061)
Issued in October 1993
NBER Program(s):   AG   PE

This paper reports the findings from a new survey of firms that provide 401(k) plans for their employees. Our results suggest that few 401(k) plans replaced pre-existing defined benefit pension plans, although a substantial fraction replaced previous defined contribution thrift and profit sharing plans. Our survey results also provide new evidence on patterns of 401(k) participation. We find significant persistence in firm-level participation rates from one year to the next, which supports the view that 401(k) participants are not making marginal decisions of whether or not to contribute to the plan in a given month, or even year, but rather make long-term commitments to participate in these plans.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4501

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