All of the Above: How Fiscal, Political, and Workforce Traits Affect Pension Funding

Source: Michael Thom, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 45 no. 3, September 2013
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From the abstract:
Public sector pension funding varies significantly across the states, a phenomenon often linked with budget conditions, but do political factors also play a role? Utilizing data collected between 2000 and 2008, this article investigates the role of political, fiscal, and workforce characteristics as determinants of long-term pension funding, a measure with implications for fiscal sustainability and ongoing reform deliberations. Results suggest a significant relationship between pension funding and legislative partisanship, citizen ideology, public school employee coverage, and outstanding state debt. Certain other fiscal variables do not shape pension-funding levels independent of these factors, nor does executive partisanship.