nep-pbe New Economics Papers
on Public Economics
Issue of 2005‒08‒20
twenty-two papers chosen by
Peren Arin
Massey University

  1. Mandatory Social Security Coverage of State and Local Workers: A Perennial Hot Button By Alicia H. Munnell
  2. Reforming the Japanese Retirement Income System: A Special Case? By Bernard H. Casey
  3. Providing Guarantees in Social Security By Karen E. Smith; C. Eugene Steuerle; Pablo Montagnes
  4. Are the Social Security Trust Funds Meaningful? By Alicia H. Munnell
  5. Yikes! How to Think About Risk? By Alicia H. Munnell; Steven A. Sass; Mauricio Soto
  6. How Do Pensions Affect Actual and Expected Retirement Ages? By Alicia H. Munnell; Robert K. Triest; Natalia A. Jivan
  7. Chilean Pension Reform: the Good, the Bad, and the In Between By Mauricio Soto
  8. National Saving and Social Security Reform By Andrew Eschtruth; Robert Triest
  9. How Do Individual Accounts Work in the Swedish Pension System? By Annika Sunden
  10. A Bird's Eye View of the Social Security Debate By Alicia H. Munnell
  11. Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2005 Update and a Look Back By Alicia H. Munnell
  12. What is Progressive Price Indexing? By Alicia H. Munnell; Mauricio Soto
  13. Social Security Personal-Account Participation with Government Matching By Gary V. Engelhardt; Anil Kumar
  14. What Does Price Indexing Mean for Social Security Benefits? By Alicia H. Munnell; Mauricio Soto
  15. An Update on Pension Data By Alicia H. Munnell; James G. Lee; Kevin B. Meme
  16. Assessing the Notional Defined Contribution Model By John B. Williamson
  17. What Makes Retirees Happy? By Keith A. Bender; Natalia A. Jivan
  18. Changes in the Distribution of Long-Run Earnings and Retirement Incomes- Have Recent Cohorts Fallen Behind? By Peter Gottschalk; Minh Huynh
  19. Local Labor Market Conditions and Retirement Behavior By Dan A. Black; Xiaoli Liang
  20. Debt Policy in a Competitive Two-Sector Overlapping Generations Model By Partha Sen
  21. Do Older Workers Face Discrimination? By Joanna N. Lahey
  22. Deferring Income in Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: The Dynamics of Participant Contributions By Karen E. Smith; Richard W. Johnson; Leslie A. Muller

  1. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: Some recent proposals to address Social Security’s financing shortfall have included an extension of coverage to the 5 million uncovered state and local workers. These proposals spark a predictable outcry from Massachusetts public employees and those in other affected states. This Issue in Brief analyzes the arguments for and against mandating Social Security coverage for newly hired state and local workers. The case against mandatory coverage centers on the issue of higher costs for state and local governments. The case for coverage rests on issues of equity and better protection for state and local workers. That is, mandatory coverage would better distribute the burden of paying for the system’s legacy debt and would improve benefits; it also would raise costs by about 6 percent of payrolls.
    Keywords: social security, mandatory coverage, state, local
    JEL: H55 J26
    Date: 2005–06
  2. By: Bernard H. Casey (The Pensions Institute at The Cass Business School)
    Abstract: In some ways, the Japanese system is not unlike that of other industrialized countries. This is not surprising in so far as Japan, once it opened to the west in the nineteenth century, made a point of learning from the western countries. Moreover, although a full public pension system was not properly established until after the Second World War — no later than in many western European countries — it was established under the American occupation. Therefore, similar to other industrial countries, the state has an important role in providing pensions, and the public system is based upon a pay-as-you-go principle with a partially proportional benefit formula. Company benefit systems supplement the public system and, in some cases, predate it. Despite the similarities with other countries, however, the retirement income system in Japan does have a number of special characteristics. First, unlike in many other countries, people in Japan keep working well after the “normal” retirement age. Second, older people in Japan are much more likely to be living with their adult children than are older people elsewhere. Thus, incomes in old age comprise a considerable element of intra-familial transfers. In these respects, Japan is “a special case.” Like most industrialized countries, Japan is confronted with the challenge of supporting a rapidly aging population. Indeed, Japan is aging faster than almost any other in the industrialized world. In this respect, Japan is not “a special case.” Moreover, the employment and social structure of Japan is also changing. Working in older age may be a less viable option in the future. And families are becoming less willing and less able to provide homes and care services for their parents. Accordingly, the way that Japan has been “a special case” may be fading over time, which could undermine retirement income security. In short, the challenges that Japan faces are more profound than those faced by many other societies.
    Keywords: Japan, pension system, retirement, aging
    JEL: H55
    Date: 2004–09
  3. By: Karen E. Smith (Urban Institute); C. Eugene Steuerle (Urban Institute); Pablo Montagnes (Urban Institute)
    Abstract: Some Social Security reforms would provide guarantees that individuals would not receive less under a reformed system than would be provided by current law. However, the “current law” benefit formula increases benefits when wages rise. Any reform successfully adding to economic growth, therefore, would affect those promised levels of benefits, as well as revenues and the interest rates that determine what could be earned and paid out of individual accounts. This paper concludes that guarantees could add significantly to the costs of Social Security, reduce any reduction in budget imbalance achieved through other parts of a reform, and add to taxes, direct or implicit, that must be paid to cover those costs. Stock and bond market variation, as well as variation in returns on individual accounts, also add to costs when reform contains a guarantee, as government bears mainly downside risks. A variety of examples are provided for one generic type of reform.
    Keywords: social security, reform
    JEL: H55
    Date: 2004–08
  4. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: Social Security traditionally has operated on a pay-as-you-go basis — that is, current taxes pay for current benefits. The 1977 and 1983 Amendments to the Social Security Act provided for a temporary departure from this approach — with the buildup of a significant trust fund. Currently the Social Security trust funds hold $1.7 trillion in special Treasury bonds. The question is whether this buildup of assets has been economically meaningful. Has it increased national saving and investment and thereby created additional future income? In some sense this may seem like an antiquated question since 2016 is the last year when annual cash surpluses are expected to contribute to fund balances. But, in fact, the question is still very relevant because any attempt to restore solvency will likely again produce large surpluses for several decades. This brief explores the effectiveness of building up assets in the Social Security trust funds. It first describes the economic rationale for such a buildup. It then looks at the debate about whether the accumulation of assets in the trust funds since 1983 has increased national saving. The final section explores ways that could make the accumulation of assets more effective — changing the budget treatment, restricting trust funds' investment in Treasury debt, and, finally, personal accounts.
    Keywords: social security, trust fund, national saving
    JEL: H55
    Date: 2005–05
  5. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Steven A. Sass (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Mauricio Soto (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: The same issue keeps reappearing. How to deal with the risk associated with equity investments when evaluating the financial health of retirement systems? Some experts argue that retirement plans holding equities can make smaller funding contributions than those invested primarily in bonds. After all, stocks yield 7 percent, after inflation, and bonds only 3 percent. Nonsense, say others. The higher expected returns on equities reflect their greater risk. Any serious financial evaluation of retirement arrangements must “risk-adjust” these returns. After accounting for risk, the contribution needed today to fund future pension obligations is the same regardless of whether the fund is invested in equities or bonds. Is it possible to reconcile these two views? How should individuals, governments, and employers account for the expected additional returns from equity investment in pension funds? How should they account for the additional risk? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how does this relate to the debate about creating private accounts with equity investments for Social Security? To sort out these difficult questions, this brief does three things. First, it describes how equities have performed over the last 75 years. Second, it explains how economists, accountants, and actuaries handle the high returns/high risks associated with equities in the real world. Finally, it explores the implications of the risk discussion for evaluating Social Security reform proposals. The conclusion is that the treatment of the high returns/high risks associated with equity investment depends on the extent to which the entity can manage the risk and the purpose of the calculation. In the case of Social Security reform proposals, evaluations tht focus solely on the expected return to equities, without adjusting for risk, overstate the contribution of private accounts to retirement income security.
    Keywords: investment, equity, stocks, bonds, retirement, risk
    JEL: E22 D91 H55
    Date: 2005–01
  6. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Robert K. Triest (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston); Natalia A. Jivan (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: This paper uses the first six waves of the Health and Retirement Study to investigate the impact of pensions on expected retirement age, on the probability of being retired in each wave given employment in the previous wave, and on the probability of retiring earlier than planned. Pension coverage per se and the type of pension are important in each case. Pension wealth reduces the expected retirement age by 0.6 year, and the incentives in defined benefit plans lower the expected age by another 1.1 years. Pension wealth increases the probability of retiring in a given wave, and pension accruals reduce the probability. Other characteristics of defined benefit plans, as measured by the pension dummy, further raise the probability of being retired. Finally, with regard to the probability of retiring earlier than planned, a change in defined contribution wealth increases the probability, but pension coverage per se reduces it. That is, those with pensions tend to be more accurate planners than those without.
    Keywords: retirement, pension, defined benefit, defined contribution
    JEL: J26 D91
    Date: 2004–11
  7. By: Mauricio Soto (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: In 1980, the Chilean pension system was in crisis. It was paying more in benefits than it was receiving in contributions, and the projected actuarial imbalance was greater than the country's Gross Domestic Product. The prescribed solution was to radically transform the traditional pay-as-you-go structure to a system based on personal retirement accounts. The Box on page two describes the main features of the current system. Nearly 25 years after the reform, it is possible to assess the Chilean experience.
    Keywords: Chile, pension system
    JEL: H55 P5
    Date: 2005–06
  8. By: Andrew Eschtruth (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Robert Triest (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: Saving is a critical component of both retirement security for individuals and the long-term growth of the nation’s economy. Current trends in Social Security, 401(k) plans, and personal saving suggest that individuals will need to save more to ensure that they can enjoy a comfortable retirement. The federal government can also contribute to the nation’s saving by reducing or eliminating its budget deficit. Increased saving by either individuals or the government, of course, means less consumption today. But, by providing more money for investment, additional saving boosts productivity and long-term economic growth. Currently, policymakers are discussing possible changes to Social Security that could have significant implications for both the retirement security of today’s workers and for national saving. This Just the Facts examines how various Social Security reforms could affect saving.
    Keywords: saving, investment, social security reform
    JEL: E21 D91 H5
    Date: 2005–04
  9. By: Annika Sunden (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: Many countries are discussing how to reform their pension systems in order to meet the demands of an aging society. A trend in these reform discussions is to introduce individual accounts as part of both public and occupational schemes. Sweden was an early mover in this process. In 1998, Sweden introduced a second tier of mandatory individual accounts — the Premium Pension — in the public system. The individual account component in the public pension system was designed as a “carve-out” and constitutes a relatively small portion of the new system. The contribution rate to the overall system is 18.5 percent: 16 percent is paid to the first tier, which is financed on a pay-as-you-go basis and pays a benefit determined by a worker’s lifetime earnings, while 2.5 percent is credited to a funded individual account. In addition, a means-tested guarantee benefit provides a minimum pension for workers with low earnings. The individual accounts are self-directed and participants can invest in a broad array of domestic and international funds. For individuals who do not wish to make an active investment decision, the government has established a default fund. The first investment elections in the Premium Pension plan took place in the fall of 2000 when all Swedes born after 1938 were able to choose how to invest their contributions from a menu of about 500 mutual funds. This brief evaluates the Swedish experience with individual accounts to date and discusses the lessons that can be learned from the first four years.
    Keywords: pensions, Sweden, individual account
    JEL: H55 P5 F
    Date: 2004–08
  10. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: President Bush plans to use his political capital to "privatize" a portion of the Social Security program. Whether or not such a change is desirable and the extent to which it solves Social Security's financing problems will dominate much of the policy agenda over the next few years. This Issue in Brief is intended to highlight the key points in the debate. First, it documents the magnitude of the Social Security financing problem. An enormous problem may justify a complete restructuring, while a more modest problem may call for marginal adjustments. Second, it clarifies that the privatization debate usually encompasses two separate issues - how to close Social Security's financing gap and how to structure benefits. Third, it addresses the slightly esoteric, but quite important issue, of how to account for the higher expected returns earned on more risky assets. The conclusion, to the extent that one emerges from this overview, is that the issues are extremely complicated and that solving Social Security's solvency problem requires serious decisions - rather than a silver bullet.
    Keywords: social security, debate, privatization
    JEL: H55 J26
    Date: 2004–12
  11. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: The Trustees of the Social Security system have just issued the 2005 report. The projections used in this report are prepared by Social Security's Office of the Actuary. The Report projects the system's financial outlook under three sets of cost assumptions - high, low and intermediate. This Just the Facts focuses on the intermediate assumptions and puts this year's numbers in perspective.
    Keywords: trustees report
    JEL: H55 D31
    Date: 2005–03
  12. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Mauricio Soto (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: As just reiterated in the 2005 Trustees Report, Social Security faces a 75-year deficit equal to roughly 2 percent of taxable payrolls. Closing this gap requires either a cut in benefits or an increase in taxes. One approach to cutting benefits under consideration by the administration is to change how benefits are indexed. An earlier Just the Facts explored the implications for benefits of moving from “wage indexing” of benefits to “price indexing.” This Just the Facts describes a proposal for “progressive price indexing.” The notion is that benefits for low-wage earners would continue to rise in line with wages, while those for maximum earners would rise in line with prices; everyone in between would see some combination of the two. The implication is that replacement rates — benefits as a percent of pre-retirement earnings — for low earners would remain constant over time, but replacement rates for high earners would decline sharply. The higher the earnings, the sharper would be the decline.
    Keywords: price indexing, replacement rates
    JEL: H55 J33
    Date: 2005–04
  13. By: Gary V. Engelhardt (Syracuse University); Anil Kumar (Center for Policy Research)
    Abstract: This paper examines the potential impact of government matching contributions on personal-account participation in the President's Commission on Strengthening Social Security's Model 3 for Social Security reform. Given the government's choice of four plan-design parameters, the magnitude of the match is determined solely by the differential return personal-account assets receive above the notional return, referred to as the "personal-account premium," akin to the equity premium. The impact of matching on personal-account participation is simulated for older workers (ages 40 to 65) in the first wave of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) using empirical estimates from a structural model of the impact of employer matching on participation in corporate 401(k) plans. For a personal-account premium of five percentage points, which implies a match rate of 12.5 percent for middle- to lower-income workers, the simulations imply that 53 percent of older workers would participate in voluntary personal accounts. The response of participation to matching is very inelastic; it is very unlikely that participation by older workers would achieve the mid-range assumption by the Commission of 67 percent. There is substantial heterogeneity in participation across subsets of older workers: participation would be the lowest for low-educated, minority, and unmarried older workers.
    Keywords: social security, reform, matching
    JEL: H55 J14 J15
    Date: 2004–10
  14. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Mauricio Soto (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: A potential component of the administration’s Social Security proposal is to shift from “wage indexing” of benefits to “price indexing.” This change sounds modest, but, in fact, would change the nature of the Social Security program. Price indexing would preserve the purchasing power of Social Security benefits, but these benefits would represent an ever-declining percentage of earnings before retirement. This Just the Facts discusses the reasons for keeping benefits up-to-date with either prices or wages. Then it describes the mechanics of both wage and price indexing, and the impact of shifting from wages to prices. Finally, it explores the implications of price indexing in terms of possible long-run responses — periodic adjustments or increased reliance on welfare programs.
    Keywords: price indexing, wage indexing, social security benefits
    JEL: H55 I3
    Date: 2005–01
  15. By: Alicia H. Munnell (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); James G. Lee (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College); Kevin B. Meme (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: This brief focuses on trends over the past two decades in employer-sponsored pension coverage. It explores who is covered by a pension plan and who is not, how much retirees receive in pension income, and how pension coverage and receipt have changed over time. This brief updates our previous work on this topic.
    Keywords: pension, employer-sponsored
    JEL: J26 J33 H55
    Date: 2004–07
  16. By: John B. Williamson (Boston College)
    Abstract: The structure of pension systems varies by two key dimensions: the way in which benefits are determined and the way in which they are financed. The determination of benefits follows one of two main methods: (1) the defined benefit approach, in which benefits are based on a formula that relies on how much workers make and how long they work; and (2) the defined contribution approach, in which benefits are typically determined by the amount contributed and the accumulated earnings on those contributions. Pension financing also follows one of two general approaches: (1) pay-as-you-go, with contributions from current workers and their employers used to pay the pensions of current retirees; and (2) funded, with contributions invested in individual accounts that are used by workers to pay for their own retirement benefits. Today most national pension systems are based in large part on the defined benefit model and are financed on a pay-as-you-go basis. But as many of these schemes have matured and some of their limitations have emerged, policymakers have begun to search for alternatives. One alternative that has received a great deal of attention since the early 1980s is the funded defined contribution model of individual accounts. Another alternative emerged in the mid-1990s: the notional defined contribution (NDC) model. It also features individual accounts, but they are financed on a pay-as-you-go basis. This issue in brief draws on evidence from six countries that have introduced NDC schemes: Sweden (1994), Italy (1995), Latvia (1996), the Kyrgyz Republic (1997), Poland (1999), and Mongolia (2000). It describes the NDC model, reviews its major strengths and limitations, and assesses how widespread it may become in the future.
    Keywords: pension systems, benefits, defined benefit, defined contribution
    JEL: H55 J26
    Date: 2004–10
  17. By: Keith A. Bender (University of Wisonsin-Milwaukee); Natalia A. Jivan (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
    Abstract: Economic well-being in retirement has been of increasing interest for economic researchers. The policy implications are large. As the baby boom generation nears retirement, understanding the factors that determine economic well-being enables policymakers to evaluate and possibly reform present retirement institutions, such as public and private pension programs. Of particular interest in this field has been the focus on retirement income adequacy, that is, the financial resources retirees need to be above some minimal level. While this area of research is important, focusing on just the economic well-being of individuals may miss other factors that influence overall welfare. Indeed, there has been a lack of research on other aspects of well-being for retirees in the economics literature. This brief attempts to fill this void by examining the determinants of the overall well-being of retirees, using the 2000 Health and Retirement Study. The brief is organized as follows. The next section reviews the economics literature on well-being measures. The second section explains the data used in the analysis presented in this brief, while the third section reviews the results. A final section summarizes the study and offers areas of future research.
    Keywords: retirement, baby boomers, income, well-being, retiree, satisfaction
    JEL: D31 J14
    Date: 2005–02
  18. By: Peter Gottschalk (Boston college); Minh Huynh (Social Security Administration)
    Abstract: This study is motivated by the well-documented increase in wage inequality during the 1980s and the continued high levels of inequality during the 1990s. Specifically, we examine changes in the distribution of long-run earnings and changes in economic mobility for recent cohorts. These cohorts, who either entered retirement in the 1990s or are nearing retirement, experienced very different labor market conditions during their working lives than did earlier cohorts. Economic growth led to higher mean earnings for recent cohorts but the distribution of yearly earnings became less equal. As a result of these changes, the average worker nearing retirement had higher long-run earnings than members of previous cohorts. This, however, need not have translated into higher long-run earnings across the board. Those at the bottom of the distribution of long-run earnings might actually have had lower accumulated earnings than previous cohorts if the gains from growth were more than offset by the increase in inequality of earnings during the 1980s. If the accumulated earnings of those at the bottom of the distribution fell, then this could have had an impact both on decisions about whether to continue to work after the period of normal retirement and on Social Security benefits. The second, and related, policy question is whether mobility has increased. If mobility has increased, then this may partially offset the impact of the increase in earnings inequality. Outcomes may be less equal, but there is less chance of being stuck with a bad outcome. Our ability to measure earnings mobility for five cohorts spanning a twenty-five-year period allows us to address this important question.
    Keywords: distribution, retirement, earnings, mobility
    JEL: D31 J60
    Date: 2005–01
  19. By: Dan A. Black (Syracuse University); Xiaoli Liang (Syracuse University)
    Abstract: In this paper, we explore the effect of local labor market conditions on the labor supply decisions of older workers. We use three different sources of variation: shocks to the US steel industry, shocks to Appalachian coal mining, and shocks to US manufacturing. While each experiment uses different methodology, the three tell a remarkably consistent story: the retirement decisions of Americans over the last thirty-five years have been affected by the performance of local labor markets. First, using variation induced by the decline in the US steel industry, we find that a 10 percent reduction in earnings resulting from the decline of the primary metals industry resulted in a 1.5 percent increase in the participation and expenditures of the Old Age program. Second, using variation in coal prices induced by oil shocks, we find that a 10 percent increase in earnings from the coal industry reduced participation about 0.9 percent and decreases expenditures about 1.2 percent. Finally, looking at variation induced by the concentration of manufacturing employment, we use micro data to examine the age and education levels of those who retired.
    Keywords: labor market, retirement
    JEL: J14 J26 J45
    Date: 2005–05
  20. By: Partha Sen (Delhi School of Economics)
    Abstract: We analyse debt policy in a two-period, two-sector overlapping generations model with Leontief technologies. We find that debt, issued to transfer resources to the initially old, could be welfare improving in the new steady state for an economy which satisfies the usual conditions for dynamic efficiency viz. the rate of interest is at least as great as the population growth rate. Out of steady state, the only potential losers are the recipients of the transfer. This could happen if the interest rate were to fall sufficiently to offset the effect of the transfer. From generation one onwards everyone becomes better off (under reasonable asumptions). Contrast this with a one-sector model where the definite gainers are those who are alive on date one.
    Keywords: Government Debt, Overlapping Generations,Two-Sector Models,Dynamic Efficiency.
    JEL: E2 E6
    Date: 2005–07
  21. By: Joanna N. Lahey (National Bureau of Economic Research)
    Abstract: As the leading edge of the baby boom generation approaches 60, growing evidence suggests that many may want to work beyond traditional retirement ages. Longer work lives may be desirable for a combination of reasons, including financial need, robust health, and the desire to stay active, productive, and engaged. Financial need may be the single most important incentive to work longer. Even at today's level of Social Security benefits, many older Americans need to work as they have little income from other sources. Indeed, one-third of those over 65 rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income. The prescribed solution was to radically transform the traditional pay-as-you-go structure to a system based on personal retirement accounts. The Box on page two describes the main features of the current system. Nearly 25 years after the reform, it is possible to assess the Chilean experience. A disproportionate share of these Social Security dependent beneficiaries are women. In addition, as baby boomers begin to retire, the need for income will become even more important for two reasons. First, Social Security benefits are expected to replace a smaller share of individuals' pre-retirement income due to changes under current law, such as the rise in the full benefits retirement age, and the need to solve the program's long-term financial shortfall. Second, 401(k) plans have replaced traditional defined benefit plans as the dominant pension vehicle, and benefits from 401(k)s are much less certain than those from traditional plans. Fortunately, older Americans are now more capable of working at later ages than in years past. Several studies suggest that today's 70 year olds are comparable in health and mental function to 65 year olds from 30 years ago. In addition to the monetary rewards, work also offers health and psychological benefits. Working in later ages may contribute to an older person's mental acuity and provide a sense of usefulness. Indeed, when surveyed, many people say they wish to continue working at least part time into later ages as a bridge to retirement.
    Keywords: retirement, age discrimination, baby boomers
    JEL: H55 J14 J71
  22. By: Karen E. Smith (Urban Institute); Richard W. Johnson (Urban Institute); Leslie A. Muller (Social Security Administration)
    Abstract: This paper describes contributions to employer-sponsored retirement accounts, using newly available longitudinal data that combine administrative earnings records with survey data. The results reveal a fair amount of individual variability in contribution rates over time. However, potential negative shocks to income and increases in current consumption needs do not appear to lead workers to curtail their contributions. Instead, workers appear to raise their contribution rates after they have achieved key milestones in the lifecourse, such as the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.
    Keywords: retirement plans, contribution rates, saving, pension
    JEL: D91 D31 J33
    Date: 2004–08

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