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Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

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Funding Discipline For U.S. Public Pension Plans: An Empirical Analysis Of Institutional Design, Natalya Shnitser Jan 2015

Funding Discipline For U.S. Public Pension Plans: An Empirical Analysis Of Institutional Design, Natalya Shnitser

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Using newly collected data on over 100 state-administered pension plans, this Article shows that previously overlooked differences in institutional design are associated with the striking variation in funding discipline across U.S. public pension plans. As state and local governments grapple with unfunded pension obligations, this Article presents a timely examination of public plan governance across two key dimensions: the allocation of control over funding decisions and the transparency with respect to funding liabilities. It shows empirically that greater constraints on legislative control over funding decisions—typically through the delegation of control to pension-system boards—have been associated with better ...