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  • Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Volume 10, Issue 2
  • April 2011, pp. 161-172

The economics of state and local pensions

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 12 April 2011

This paper provides an overview of an economics-based perspective on the financial aspects of state and local public pensions in the U.S. Drawing on the research commissioned for an NBER research program on this topic, we discuss the large degree to which public pension liabilities exceed the assets set aside to fund them. We summarize issues related to the optimality of pre-funding, portfolio allocation, the discounting of liabilities, as well as how plans operate in practice. We also lay out an agenda for future research related to financial aspects of public pensions, retiree health plans for public employees, as well as issues related to plan design and labor market outcomes.

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Robert Clark , Lee Craig and John Sabelhaus (2011) State and Local Retirement Plans in the United States. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming.

Robert Clark and Melinda Morrill (2010) Retiree Health Plans in the Public Sector: Is There a Funding Crisis? Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Robert Clark and Morrill Melinda (2011) The funding status of retiree health plans in the public sector. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 10(2): 291314.

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Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua D. Rauh (2011) Public pension promises: how big are they and what are they worth? Journal of Finance, forthcoming.

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Journal of Pension Economics & Finance
  • ISSN: 1474-7472
  • EISSN: 1475-3022
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-pension-economics-and-finance
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