Public and private pensions control almost a quarter of the United States' tangible wealth—equivalent to all of the country's residential real estate. They account for most current saving in the country, are a crucial component of household retirement resources, and have significant effects on labor market mobility and efficiency. Collectively, they hold a tremendous proportion of all common stock.
The stock market has boomed during the past decade, as baby boomers have rapidly accumulated pension assets. Now economists are starting to wonder what will happen when the baby boomers retire. It is already clear that the Social Security system will require drastic changes to remain solvent. Will the stock market experience a similar meltdown as baby boomers withdraw their assets from pension plans? What policies might help to avoid such a crisis?
According to Schieber and Shoven, pension policy will emerge as one of the key economic issues of the next decade. This book provides a guide to the debate. Topics include the impact of pensions on personal and national saving, the potential for a Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation financial crisis, the dramatic growth in 401(k) plans, public sector plants, the prospects for adequate retirement income in the future, and recommended directions for pension policies.
The book contains ten chapters, four written by Schieber and Shoven. The remaining contributors are Robert Clark, Ping-Lung Hsin, Olivia Mitchell, James Poterba, Andrew Samwick, Jonathan Skinner, Steven Venti, Carolyn Weaver, David Wise, and Elisa Wolper.