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Pensions in the Health and Retirement Study

Pensions in the Health and Retirement Study

Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, Nahid Tabatabai

ISBN 9780674048669

Publication date: 05/01/2010

This book presents a careful analysis of pension data collected by the Health and Retirement Study, a unique survey of people over the age of fifty conducted by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Aging. The authors studied pensions as they evolve over individuals’ work lives and into retirement: how pension coverage and plans change over a lifetime, how many pensions workers have by the time they retire and what these pensions are worth, what pensions contribute to individual retirement incomes, and how trends and policy changes affect retirement plans.

The book focuses on the major features of pensions, including plan type and participation, ages of eligibility for retirement, values of different pension types, how pension values are influenced by retirement age, how plans are settled when a worker leaves a firm, how well people understand their pensions, the importance of pensions in retirement saving and as a share of household wealth, and the vulnerability of the retirement age population to the current financial crisis.

This book provides readers with an invaluable look at the crucial but ever-changing role of pensions in supporting retirees.


  • This excellent book will become a standard reference and will be well-cited for years to come.

    —David Macpherson, Trinity University


  • Alan L. Gustman is Loren M. Berry Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College.
  • Thomas L. Steinmeier is Professor of Economics, Texas Tech University.
  • Nahid Tabatabai is Research Associate, Dartmouth College.

Book Details

  • 400 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press