Does freezing a corporate defined benefit (DB) pension plan decrease overall labor costs and increase firm profits? Firms are more likely to freeze defined benefit pension plans that have higher prospective accruals and thus higher potential cost saving. After incorporating the increases in current contributions to defined contribution plans, freezing saves firms 3 percent of total payroll in the first year and the equivalent of 13.5 percent of the long-horizon payroll of current employees. Savings arise in large part because firms are reneging on implicit contracts to provide workers higher compensation through pension accruals later in their careers.
Zeldes, Stephen, Joshua Rauh, and Irina Stefanescu. "Cost Savings and the Freezing of Corporate Pension Plans." Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-4, Columbia Business School, February 2017.
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