Studies & Reports

October 24, 2017

A School’s Choice: Retirement Security for Charter School Teachers

In twenty states, public charter schools are given the option to participate in a public pension plan or to enroll their teachers in an alternative retirement plan. This report aims to determine the impact of this choice on the retirement security of charter school teachers. 

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March 29, 2017

Why Pensions Matter

Why Pensions Matter examines the history of public pension plans in the United States. In tracing their development, the report considers why public pensions are still important today.

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September 16, 2016

Pensionomics 2016

A new research report finds that retiree spending of pension benefits in 2014 generated $1.2 trillion in total economic output, supporting some 7.1 million jobs across the U.S.

Pensionomics 2016: Measuring the Economic Impact of Defined Benefit Pension Expenditures reports the national economic impacts of public and private pension plans, as well as the impact of state and local plans on a state-by-state basis.

Download the report here.

Download a report infographic here.

A map with each state fact sheet is available here.

Listen to a replay of the webinar here.

The study finds that in 2014:

Nearly $519.7 billion in pension benefits were paid to 24.3 million retired Americans including: 

  • $253 billion paid to some 9.6 million retired employees of state and local governments and their beneficiaries (typically surviving spouses;
  • $78.8 billion paid to some 2.6 million federal government retirees and beneficiaries; and
  • $187.9 billion paid to some 12.1 million private sector retirees and beneficiaries.

Expenditures from these payments collectively supported:

  • 7.1 million American jobs that paid $354.8 billion in labor income;
  • $1.2 trillion in total economic output nationwide; and
  • $627.4 billion in value added (GDP); and $189.7 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.

Pension expenditures have large multiplier effects:

  • Each dollar paid out in pension benefits supported $2.21 in total economic output nationally.
  • Each taxpayer dollar contributed to state and local pensions supported $9.19 in total output nationally. This represents the financial value of long- term investment returns and the shared funding responsibility by employers and employees.

The study is authored by Jennifer Brown, NIRS manager of research. It was conducted using the most current data available from the U.S. Census Bureau and IMPLAN, an input-output modeling software widely used by industry and governments analysts.

Download the research here.

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September 7, 2016

Public Pensions Work – And These Three Systems Prove It

Public Pensions Work- And These Three Systems Prove It

By Tyler Bond

September 7, 2016


Defined benefit pensions remain the most secure and reliable retirement plan for working families. The evidence continues to mount that defined contribution plans, like 401(k)s, do not provide an adequate retirement for anyone other than wealthy corporate executives. Pensions keep working families out of poverty during retirement because they provide a steady, monthly income that is guaranteed for life. For public employees in particular, defined benefit pensions are a valued job benefit and that is why states and cities are sticking with public pensions.

While some corporate special interests have been spreading mistruths about the state of America’s public pension funds, the reality is that most public pension systems are reasonably well-funded and provide an adequate retirement benefit to teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other public employees after their careers serving the public.

This report will examine three of the most successful public pension systems in the country. These three pension plans offer a roadmap to success for other pension systems looking to provide a secure retirement for their public employees. While each is unique, their common commitment to sound funding practices and responsible management ensures that the retirees of these systems can enjoy the dignified retirement they deserve…


You can download the full report here: Public Pensions Work – And These Three Systems Prove It

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