pension debt

Benefit or Burden? On the Intergenerational Inequity of Teacher Pension Plans

Most public school teachers in the United States are enrolled in defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Using administrative micro data from four states, combined with national pension funding data, we show these plans have accumulated substantial unfunded liabilities – effectively debt – owing to previous plan operations. On average across 49 state plans, an amount that exceeds 10 percent of current teachers’ earnings is being set aside to pay for previously-accrued pension liabilities.

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