State and Local Retirement Plans in the United States

State and Local Retirement Plans in the United States


By (author) Robert L. Clark, By (author) Lee A. Craig, By (author) John Sabelhaus


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  • Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 236mm x 18mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 11 May 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Cheltenham
  • ISBN 10: 1848447558
  • ISBN 13: 9781848447554

Product description

State and Local Retirement Plans in the United States explains how economic and political events have shaped the development of pension plans in the last century, and it argues that changes in the structure and generosity of these plans will continue to shape policy and funding in the future. It also brings to bear a new rationale to the policies behind public sector pension plans. The authors use the history of how early public pension plans were established, how they matured and how they have grown in generosity to analyse what changes may be expected in years to come. Unique in its scope, this comprehensive history of the development of public sector pension plans in the United States during the twentieth century expands upon current ideas relating to the changing economic environment, the passage and evolution of social security and the expansion of the public sector. With the exception of military pension plans, which date from the eighteenth century, the first public sector plans, dating from the late nineteenth century, were established to cover teachers, police officers and fire fighters in large cities. Over time, these retirement plans were extended to other public sector workers and the local plans were often merged with plans for state workers; all of these date from the twentieth century. Here, the authors show just how pension coverage for public sector workers expanded steadily, through the first half of the twentieth century, so that by the 1960s the vast majority of public sector workers were covered by a plan. This analysis demonstrates how economic events and shifts in public policy at the federal, state and local levels helped to shape public sector retirement plans. The authors also compare public plans with private sector plans, and the final chapter focuses on recent changes in public pensions in response to the 'Great Recession', concurrent sharp declines in equity markets and the aging of the public workforce. Academic scholars and students of economics, history and public policy, public administrators, policymakers and all those with an interest in policy development will find the analyses discussed and conclusions drawn here of significance.

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Table of contents

Contents: 1. Public Pension Plans in the Twentieth Century 2. Public Sector Pension Plans on the Eve of the Great Depression 3. State and Local Pension Plans During the Great Depression 4. State and Local Pension Plans and the Evolution of Social Security: 1940-1975 5. Pension Plans for Public School Teachers 6. Maturing State Pension Plans: 1975 to 2000 7. Maturing Local Pension Plans: 1975 to 2000 8. Comparing Trends in Public Pensions to Those in the Private Sector 9. Financial Status of Public Sector Retirement Plans 10. Public Pensions in the Twenty-first Century References