The Transformation of the American Pension System

Publication Date


Grant Type

Research grant


This project focuses on changes in the U.S. pension system from 1983 to 2007: who gained, who was hurt, and whether the transformation of the system during this time period has led to greater overall inequality in pension wealth and retirement income. The principal data sources used are the 1983, 1989, 2001, 2004, and 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances. The author examines basic trends in pension wealth, social security wealth, and augmented wealth broken down by race, family type, education group, age, and income. Trends in retirement adequacy are examined as measured by both the absolute level of retirement income and the replacement rate. The last section offers an analysis of the policy implications as well as recommendations for change.

Grant Product

The Transformation of the American Pension System: Was It Beneficial for Workers?
Kalamazoo,MI: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2011