This study uses a unique data set of retiree characteristics and salary histories for administrators, teachers, and non-professional employees of the Denver Public School Retirement System (DPSRS) to analyze surplus deferred compensation for DPSRS and four state K-12 defined benefit pension plans. We find sizable levels of surplus deferred compensation for each plan, with significant differences across plans, job classes, and age groups. Across plans, differences in cost of living allowances impact the expected present value of retirement benefits more than benefit table differences when controlling for each respective factor. Somewhat surprisingly, the plans in our study with the largest present value of future benefits had lower employee contribution rates. Pension wealth for reduced benefits showed larger wealth accrual at younger ages than full, unreduced benefits, and younger cohorts starting work at an earlier age received significantly higher surplus deferred compensation.
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