Skip to main content Accessibility help

Determinants of the generosity of pension plans for public school teachers, 1982–2006

  • ROBERT L. CLARK (a1) and LEE A. CRAIG (a2)


All states provide pension plans to their teachers and civil servants; however, these plans vary across the states. We present a history of the development of teacher retirement plans during the twentieth century, describe how teacher plans relate to retirement plans for other state employees, and assess the impact of teachers not being included in Social Security on the benefits they receive from their employer pension plan. Over the past 25 years, public school teacher retirement plans in the United States have increased in generosity as benefit formulas have been increased, salary averaging periods have been reduced, and the normal retirement age has been lowered. We employ data from retirement plans in the states to estimate the impact of social and economic factors on the replacement rates for teachers retiring with 30 years of service.



Hide All
Buchanan, J. M. and Tullock, G. (1962) The Calculus of Consent. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Clark, Robert (2009) Will public sector retiree health benefit plans survive? Economic and policy implcations of unfunded liabilities. Paper presented to the annual meetings of the American Economic Association, San Francisco.
Clark, Robert, Craig, Lee, and Wilson, Jack (2003) A History of Public Sector Pensions in the United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Clark, Robert, Craig, Lee, and Ahmed, Naveen (2009) The evolution of public sector pension plans in the United States. In Gary, Anderson and Olivia, Mitchell, The Future of Public Retirement Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 239370.
Craig, Lee A. (1995) The political economy public–private compensation differential: the case of federal pensions. Journal of Economic History, 55 (June): 304320.
Fishback, Price V. and Kantor, Shawn Everett (1995) Did workers pay for the passage of workers' compensation laws? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110 (August): 713742.
Fishback, Price V. and Kantor, Shawn Everett (2000) A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gruber, Johnathan and Krueger, Alan B. (1991) The incidence of mandated employer-provided insurance: lessons from workers' compensation insurance. In David, Bradford (ed.), Tax Policy and the Economy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 111143.
Hirsch, Barry T. and Macpherson, David A. (2007) Union membership, coverage, density, and employment by state and sector, 1983–2007.
Libecap, Gary (1989) Contracting for Property Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moore, Michael J. and Viscusi, W. Kip (1990) Compensation Mechanisms for Job Risk: Wages, Workers' Compensation, and Product Liability. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Munnell, Alicia (2005) Mandatory social security coverage of state and local workers: a perennial hot button. Issue Brief No. 32. Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Olson, Mancur (1965) The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Social Security Board (1937) Social security in America: Part II old age security.
Social Security Administration (2007) How state and local government employees are covered by social security and medicare.
Social Security Administration (2008) Historical background and development of social security.
Streckewald, Frederick (2005) Social security testimony before 109th Congress.
US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (1987) Census of Governments: Employee Retirement Systems of State and Local Governments. Vol. 4, Table 1. Washington, DC: USGPO.
US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (2002) Census of Governments: Employee Retirement Systems of State and Local Governments. Vol. 4, Tables 3 and 4. Washington, DC: USGPO.
US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (various years) Statistical Abstract of the United States.
US General Accounting Office (1999) State Pension Plans: Similarities and Differences Between Federal and State Designs. 19 March, GAO/GGD-99-45. Washington, DC: US GAO.
US General Accounting Office (2007) State and Local Government Retiree Benefits: Current Status of Benefit Structures, Protections, and Fiscal Outlook for Funding Future Costs. 24 September, GAO-07-572. Washington, DC: US GAO.
Wisconsin Legislative Council (various years) Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems. Published biannually from 1982 to 2006. Madison, Wisconsin.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Pension Economics & Finance
  • ISSN: 1474-7472
  • EISSN: 1475-3022
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-pension-economics-and-finance
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed