Public Pensions

The Labor Center conducts research on pensions for teachers and other public sector workers, focusing on risks, cost-efficiency, and workforce retention impacts of traditional defined-benefit pensions compared to 401(k)-style individual investment accounts.

Research & Publications
UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: Understanding the Financial Status, Cost, and Sustainability of Public Pensions in Marin County

Designed as a resource for policymakers and journalists, this brief explains how public pension costs are calculated and funded, and explains how reforms adopted by CalPERS, CalSTRS, and MCERA have put the systems on stronger footing in recent years. This is the second of three briefs in the Marin Public Pension Series.

Nari Rhee

Is it time to retire traditional teacher pension plans?

As teachers across the country mobilize for education funding and fair pay, pensions are high on their list of priorities. What they know from experience, and research confirms, is that pensions are a win-win for teachers and schools, delivering superior retirement security and retaining teachers for decades. Conversely, abandoning pensions in favor of 401(k) or cash balance plans would come at great cost to teacher livelihoods and erode education quality.

Nari Rhee

Potential Impact of Governor Brown’s Pension Reform Plan on Low Wage Workers

Lower wage workers could be significantly disadvantaged if the Governor’s proposals for a hybrid pension and increased retirement age for new hires is applied without regard for wage level or occupational characteristics–through a severely downgraded pension benefit that fails to provide meaningful retirement security and a longer working career/shorter period of retirement compared to higher paid workers.