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The Effects of Vesting and Locking in Pension Assets on Participation in Employer-Sponsored Pension Plans

Derek Messacar

Journal of Labor Research, 2018, vol. 39, issue 2, 178-200

Abstract: Abstract This study assesses whether pension vesting and lock-in regulations affect participation in employer-sponsored pension plans. Specifically, the effects of Canadian reforms enacted during the 1980s and 1990s are investigated, which reduced vesting and lock-in requirements from employees being at least 45 years old and having ten years of continuous plan membership to two years of membership irrespective of age. To credibly identify these effects, the analysis exploits inter-provincial variation in the timing of the pension reforms using a difference-in-differences approach. The results show that employees aged 25–54 responded positively to the added protection of their pension wealth by increasing plan participation, despite the general trend of declining occupational pension coverage during this time. However, these changes also crowded out contributions to other retirement savings accounts. The implications of these findings for the optimal design of private pension systems are discussed.

Keywords: Pensions; Savings; Vesting; Locking-in; Difference-in-differences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H31 J32 J38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s12122-018-9265-z

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