Despite rhetoric that public sector unions are partially responsible for the health of state and local pension systems, little concrete evidence exists regarding the role unions play in influencing the generosity of their retirement benefits. Using a panel of state teacher pension plans, we find credible robust evidence linking stronger teachers' unions to more generous benefits. For an average teacher in a strong union state compared to a teacher in a weak union state, our results imply that the differential in the present value of benefits earned each year paid by the plan sponsor is $2,400 per member.
This research was conducted by RAND Education.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.