Pensions and K-12 Teacher Retirement: An Analysis Using National Teacher Data Jan 01, 2011 By Leora FriedbergSarah Turner Pensions and K-12 Teacher Retirement: An Analysis Using National Teacher Data The retirement security landscape has changed drastically for most workers over the last thirty years – except for public school teachers and other state and local government employees. Many private-sector employers have stopped offering traditional retirement plans, while most state and local employees remain covered by defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Research shows that DB plans have had strong effects on worker retention in the private sector, as workers delayed retirement until they cash in on large pension wealth accruals late in their careers and then retire abruptly. We explore these effects for teachers, using data that includes measures of teacher qualifications and job satisfaction. We find that dissatisfied teachers respond much more to pension incentives than satisfied teachers do, first delaying retirement while pension wealth is still accumulating and then retiring abruptly. Research Dialogue Research Dialogue Areas of focus Education Leora Friedberg Leora Friedberg is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the Batten School and an associate professor and Vice Chair at UVA's Department of Economics. Her focus is on labor economics, including research on social security, aging and retirement economic impacts. Read full bio Sarah Turner Sarah Turner is a University Professor of economics, education and public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Souder Family Endowed Professor. Much of her research focuses on post-secondary education, where she explores the intersection of education and economics policies. Read full bio Related Content Leora Friedberg Labor market aspects of state and local retirement plans: a review of evidence and a blueprint for future research Research Traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans remain the overwhelming norm for teachers, policemen and other employees of state and local governments. The incentives for workers with DB pension plans to stay in their jobs shift dramatically over the course of their careers. Labor Market Effects of Pensions and Implications for Teachers Research While the retirement security landscape has changed drastically for most workers over the last twenty years, traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans remain the overwhelming norm for K–12 teachers. Because DB plans pay off fully with a fixed income after retirement only if a teacher stays in the profession for decades and yield little or nothing if a teacher leaves early, DB plans induce a strong, nonlinear relationship between years of tenure and benefit accrual. Sarah Turner Waivers for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: Who Would Benefit from Takeup? Research This research identifies more than $100 billion in loan forgiveness available to as many as 3.5 million borrowers through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver program. Potential beneficiaries of this initiative are disproportionately employed in occupations like teaching and health care. However, the distribution of potential benefits of the PSLF waiver depends critically on the extent to which those with high income or advanced degrees are differentially likely to take-up benefits conditional on eligibility. Progressivity of Pricing at US Public Universities Research New research describes recent shifts in net tuition by family income and institution type and assesses the role of changes in state funding in generating these shifts. Jefferson Scholars Foundation Honors Six Outstanding UVA Faculty Members News Batten Professor of economics, education and public policy Sarah Turner was selected as this year's recipient of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Faculty Prize. Student Loan Payment Pause Benefits High-Income Households the Most News Batten School Professor Sarah Turner, Batten student Eileen Powell and UVA economics doctoral candidate Diego Briones researched who benefits the most from the pause on student loan payments in a piece for Education Next.