Unions and Public Pension Benefits

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, Josh Hurwitz, and Laura Quinby, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, SLP#19, July 2011

From the abstract:
State and local pensions have been headline news since the 2008 financial collapse reduced the value of their assets, leaving a substantial unfunded liability. The deterioration in the funded status of these plans raised pension costs at the same time that the ensuing recession wreaked havoc with state and local budgets. Legislatures across the country have responded by reducing pension benefits – primarily for new employees – and increasing employer and employee contributions. As part of that process, governors in several states have launched initiatives to curb collective bargaining in the public sector. One possible implication is that governors view unions as responsible for pushing up state and local pension benefits. This brief identifies the impact of public sector unions and other factors on benefit levels, wages, and employment

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