The Future of Public Employee Retirement Systems

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $37.29
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 66%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $37.29   
  • New (3) from $85.80   
  • Used (2) from $37.29   


People covered by public pensions are often the subject of "pension envy": that is, their benefits might seem more generous and their contributions lower than those offered by the private sector. Yet this book points out that such judgments are often inaccurate, since civil servants hold jobs with few counterparts in private industry, such as firefighters, police, judges, and teachers. Often these are riskier, dirtier, and demand more loyalty and discretion than would be required of a more mobile labor force in the private sector. The debate challenges traditional ideas about how the public employee labor contract is structured and raises questions about how such employees are attracted to the public sector, retained and motivated on the job, and retired, via an entire compensation package of wages and benefits. Authors explore aspects of these schemes, addressing the cost and valuation debate, along with the political economy of how public pension asset pools are perceived and managed, an increasingly important topic in times of global financial turmoil. The discussion also explores ways that public pensions can be strengthened in the US, Japan, Canada, and Germany.

The volume captures a vigorous debate currently underway by academics, financial experts, regulators, and plan sponsors, all seeking to define a new future for public retirement systems. It will be of substantial interest to a wide range of readers, since public sector employees and their representatives will naturally find the comparisons and arguments over valuation of keen interest. Public pension administrators and policymakers seeking an explanation of what makes these plans so costly will gain a new understanding of how the arguments stack up. Private sector employers and plan sponsors can learn much from efforts to reform these retirement systems in states and countries around the world. Finally, investors and the taxpaying public more generally may be at risk to cover these long-term promises, so it behooves them to pay close attention to the financing and investment practices of these plans, along with their valuation.

This volume represents an invaluable addition to the Pension Research Council / Oxford University Press series as it includes actuarial, economic, and financial perspectives making it useful for academics, retirement plan administrators, and public employees wishing to understand the challenges facing public pensions.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199573349
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/18/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Olivia S. Mitchell is the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, the Executive Director of the Pension Research Council, and the Director of the Boettner Center on Pensions and Retirement Research at the Wharton School. Concurrently Dr. Mitchell is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Co-Investigator for the AHEAD/Health and Retirement Studies at the University of Michigan. Dr. Mitchell's main areas of research and teaching are private and public insurance, risk management, public finance and labor markets, and compensation and pensions, with a US and an international focus. She received the B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gary Anderson is a consultant on public pension issues; previously he served as Executive Director of the Texas Municipal Retirement system which covers municipal employees and retirees for many Texas cities. He is also an Advisory Board member of Wharton's Pension Research Council, and he served with the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and the Government Finance Officers Association. He received the BA in Political Science from Texas A&M University, and the MA in Public Management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake City.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. The Future of Public Employee Retirement Systems, Olivia S. Mitchell
Part I: Costs and Benefits of Public Employee Retirement Systems
2. Estimating State and Local Government Pension and Retiree Health Care Liabilities, Stephen T. McElhaney
3. The Case for Marking Public Plan Liabilities to Market, Jeremy Gold and Gordon Latter
4. Between Scylla and Charybdis: Improving the Cost Effectiveness of Public Pension Retirement Plans, M. Barton Waring
5. Public Pensions and State and Local Budgets: Can Contribution Rate Cyclicality Be Better Managed?, Parry Young
6. Benefit Cost Comparisons Between State and Local Governments and Private Industry Employers, Ken McDonnell
7. Administrative Costs of State Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution, Edwin C. Hustead
8. Thinking About Funding Federal Retirement Plans, Toni Hustead
Part II: Implementing Public Retirement System Reform
9. Reforming the German Civil Servant Pension Plan, Raimond Maurer, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Ralph Rogalla
10. The Outlook for Canada's Public Sector Employee Pensions, Silvana Pozzebon
11. Unifying Pension Schemes in Japan: Toward a Single Scheme for Both Civil Servants and Private Employees, Junichi Sakamoto
12. Redefining Traditional Plans: Variations and Developments in Public Employee Retirement Plan Design, Keith Brainard
13. Defined Contribution Pension Plans in the Public Sector: A Benchmark Analysis, Roderick B. Crane, Michael Heller, and Paul J. Yakoboski
Part III: The Political Economy of Public Pensions
14. The Evolution of Public Sector Pension Plans in the United States, Robert L. Clark, Lee A. Craig, and Neveen Ahmed
15. Pension Fund Activism: The Double-Edged Sword, Brad M. Barber
16. The New Intersection on the Road to Retirement: Public Pensions, Economics, Perceptions, Politics, and Interest Groups, Beth Almeida, Kelly Kenneally, and David Madland

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)