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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The proportion of the US population that survives to retirement age has increased over time, as has the share of the older population that retires. Higher incomes at older ages explain the increase in the incidence of retirement. Pensions provide much of that income. In general, public-sector workers, especially military personnel, were covered by pensions before their private-sector counterparts, and coverage in the public sector remains more widespread, and generous, than it is in the private sector. Public-sector pension plans are more likely to be defined benefit plans than are private-sector plans. Many public-sector employers have promised their employees more in benefits than they have set aside to pay for those benefits. Estimates suggest that the federal, state, and local retirement plans currently in operation are underfunded by as much as $5 trillion.

Keywords: retirement, pensions, public sector, private sector, defined benefit plan

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