Economics at your fingertips  

Pension-spiking, free-riding, and the effects of pension reform on teachers' earnings

Maria Fitzpatrick ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2017, vol. 148, issue C, 57-74

Abstract: In many states, local school districts are responsible for setting the earnings that determines the size of pensions, but are not required to make contributions to cover the resulting state pension fund liabilities. In this paper, I document evidence that this intergovernmental incentive inherent in public sector defined benefit pension systems distorts the amount and timing of income for public school teachers. I use the introduction of a policy that required experience-rating on earnings increases above a certain limit in a differences-in-differences framework to identify whether districts are willing to pay the full costs of their earnings promises. Because of the design of the policy, overall earnings of teachers near retirement did not change. Instead, districts that previously provided one-time pay increases shifted to smaller increments spread out over several years. In addition, some districts that did not practice pension-spiking prior to the reform appear to begin providing payments up to the new, lower limit, perhaps due to increased salience of the fiscal incentive. Therefore, the policy was ineffective at decreasing pension costs.

Keywords: Intergovernmental incentives; Teacher compensation; Teacher retirement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H75 H72 H77 J26 I21 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Public Economics is currently edited by R. Boadway and J. Poterba

More articles in Journal of Public Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

Page updated 2019-10-15
Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:148:y:2017:i:c:p:57-74