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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2015||Liquidity in Retirement Savings Systems: An International Comparison|
with John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian: w21168
What is the socially optimal level of liquidity in a retirement savings system? Liquid retirement savings are desirable because liquidity enables agents to flexibly respond to pre-retirement events that raise the marginal utility of consumption. On the other hand, pre-retirement liquidity is undesirable when it leads to under-saving arising from, for example, planning mistakes or self-control problems. This paper compares the liquidity that six developed economies have built into their employer-based defined contribution (DC) retirement savings systems. We find that all of them, with the sole exception of the United States, have made their DC systems overwhelmingly illiquid before age 55.
Published: John Beshears & James J. Choi & Joshua Hurwitz & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2015. "Liquidity in Retirement Savings Systems: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 420-25, May. citation courtesy of
|March 2013||Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems|
with Julie Agnew: w18907
As more and more public pension systems are shifting away from a defined benefit only framework, the complexity of the financial decisions facing public employees is increasing. This raises some concerns about the financial literacy of participants and their ability to make informed decisions. While surveys addressing financial education in private plans are available, little is known about what types of education and advice are offered in public plans. This paper fills this gap by presenting new results from the first National Public Pension Plan Financial Education Survey. The paper focuses specifically on primary defined contribution and hybrid plans. The results indicate that some form of education or advice is offered by every surveyed plan and that the sponsoring entity is actively i...
|October 2012||Public Plans and Short-Term Employees|
with Alicia Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, Laura Quinby: w18448
Public sector defined benefit pension plans are based on final earnings. As such, these plans are back-loaded; those with long careers receive substantial benefits and those who leave early receive little. The analysis consists of three parts. The first section discusses the design of state and local defined benefit plans, documents the extent to which traditional public sector final earnings plans are back-loaded, and explores the extent to which the incentives may reflect the preferences of employers. The second section shows how participation in final earnings plans affects the lifetime resources of state and local workers of various tenures compared to private sector workers. The third section presents plan-level data on the flows of participants out of the plan by age and tenure and e...