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Regulating Employment-Based Anything, Brendan S. Maher Jan 2016

Regulating Employment-Based Anything, Brendan S. Maher

Faculty Scholarship

Benefit regulation has been called “the most consequential subject to which no one pays enough attention.” It exhausts judges, intimidates legislators, and scares off theorists. That need not be so. Reality is less complicated than advertised.

Governments often consider intervention if markets fail to make some socially desirable Good X — such as education, health care, home mortgages, or pensions, for example — sufficiently available. One obvious fix is for the government to provide the good itself. A less obvious intervention is for the government to regulate employment-based (EB) arrangements that provide Good X as a benefit to employees and their families ...


Pension De-Risking, Paul M. Secunda, Brendan S. Maher Jan 2016

Pension De-Risking, Paul M. Secunda, Brendan S. Maher

Faculty Scholarship

The United States is facing a retirement crisis, in significant part because defined benefit pension plans have been replaced by defined contribution retirement plans that, whatever their theoretical merit, have left significant numbers of workers unprepared for retirement. A troubling example of the continuing movement away from defined benefit plans is a new phenomenon euphemistically called “pension de-risking.”

Recent years have been marked by high-profile companies engaging in various actions designed to reduce the company’s exposure to pension funding risk (hence the term “pension de-risking”). Some de-risking strategies convert a federally-guaranteed pension into a more risky private annuity. Other ...