|Wharton Highlights NIRS Research|
The Wharton School’s online business journal, Knowlege@Wharton, has featured a research paper coauthored by Beth Almeida, NIRS executive director.
The journal reports that the paper, “The New Intersection on the Road to Retirement: Public Pensions, Economics, Perceptions, Politics, and Interest Groups” examined public pension data and presented case studies from four states that recently had been under pressure to switch from traditional plans and to defined contribution individual accounts.
The research discovered that public pensions collectively are financially sound. Further, the efforts to dismantle public pensions are not driven by economics, but rather are tied to partisan politics and organized ideological interest groups. Almeida told Knowledge @Wharton that the data examined in the paper revealed most citizens are uninformed about public pensions and have little interest in changing the system.
Additionally, there does not appear to be a real groundswell of discontent on the issue of public pensions and no demand rising up from ordinary citizens for wholesale changes.
Almeida noted that Alaska and West Virginia – states that switched to defined contribution plans – now have “buyer's remorse." West Virginia announced it is moving back to a defined benefit plan, while Alaska has introduced legislation considering a switch back to the traditional pension system.
Almeida presented the findings on May 2, 2008 at Wharton’s Pension Research Conference, “The Future of Public Employee Retirement Systems,” which convened nationally-recognized researchers. The paper was coauthored by Kelly Kenneally, communication advisor to NIRS and Dr. David Madland, director of the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress.
The full article is available here.
Posted By: Laura Vincent, NIRS Intern, on June 17, 2008