Reforming public pensions

Traci Leigh Anenson, Alex Slabaugh, Karen Eilers Lahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


There is a crisis in the public pension systems of several states. With trillions of dollars at stake, practitioners, policymakers, and academics alike are urgently addressing the pension problem. Politicians in nearly every state have been considering a variety of proposals and implementing changes that affect millions of government workers and retirees. Courts have also entered the milieu as impacted employees test whether reforms surmount legal obstacles and pass constitutional muster. Members of Congress have even attempted to facilitate a solution to the state pension debt crisis due to its negative impact on the American economy. In this Article, we integrate and extend the pension reform movements in law, education, and economics by studying teacher pensions across the United States. Our interdisciplinary approach concentrates on an overlooked and vulnerable group of government workers - those who have defined benefit plans and do not contribute to Social Security. The federal government does not oversee these plans, and there are no insurance programs if the plans fail. Through our quantitative and qualitative analysis, we aim to improve theory and practice by providing a valuable perspective as states reconsider their pension obligations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 74
Number of pages74
JournalYale law & policy review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

Anenson, T. L., Slabaugh, A., & Lahey, K. E. (2014). Reforming public pensions. Yale law & policy review, 33(1), 1 - 74.