Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



State and local government pension funds lost nearly $1 trillion in net assets in 2007-08. Average pension funding levels fell from 85 percent in 2007 to 77 percent in 2009. We analyze these patterns by looking at target asset allocations for 29 large public sector plans covering over half of all public pension assets. On average, the standard deviation of target portfolio returns increased slightly and 14 of the 29 plans surveyed increased risk by more than 0.3 percentage points and 8 increased risk by more than one percentage point. Few plans seem to have retreated from risk-taking, while a small number appears to have embraced more risk than before.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2012 publication: Reshaping Retirement Security: Lessons from the Global Financial Crisis.

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusion of this paper represent the views of the authors and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2011 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The author wishes to thank Rohan Poojara for his valuable research assistance on this project.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 28 June 2019