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The impact of public pension board of trustee composition on state bond ratings

John Dove (), Courtney A. Collins and Daniel Smith
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Courtney A. Collins: Rhodes College

Economics of Governance, 2018, vol. 19, issue 1, No 3, 73 pages

Abstract: Abstract The declining financial health of public pension systems is increasingly becoming a budgetary concern for many state and local governments. While the academic literature has identified several factors behind the growth in unfunded state and local public pension liabilities, there is mixed evidence on how the composition of a pension system’s board of trustees affects a pension’s financial health. This article contributes to this literature by measuring how public pension board composition affects fund financial health as measured by state bond ratings. With a panel dataset of state pensions between 2001 and 2014 our results indicate that elected board members are consistently associated with lower bond ratings (and thus higher borrowing costs) while appointed and ex-officio board members are associated with higher bond ratings. These results are robust to a number of specifications.

Keywords: Unfunded liabilities; Public pensions; Pension governance; Board of directors; Bond ratings; Public finance; Corporate governance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D78 G32 H75 L22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s10101-018-0201-8

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