Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Under the traditional approach to defined benefit plans, well-intended disciplinary and regulatory regimes have sought to restrict discretion, reduce uncertainty and risk, and protect workers and employers. Nevertheless the discouraging state of US defined benefit plans indicates that past efforts have gone awry. This chapter suggests that a new approach to defined benefit plans could resurrect the key elements required for retirement income security, rather than pursuing piecemeal reform.


The published version of this Working Paper may be found in the 2006 publication: Restructuring Retirement Risks.

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. Copyright 2005 © Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The opinions expressed in the paper are solely those of the authors. The authors accept responsibility for any errors in the paper. Preliminary version, please do not quote without permission. The authors wish to acknowledge the helpful comments of David Blitzstein and Olivia Mitchell

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 30 August 2019