Special Issue of Educational Researcher Examines the Topic of Teacher Pensions
Special Issue of Educational Researcher Examines the Topic of Teacher Pensions

March 2023

A newly released special issue of Educational Researcher, titled “Teacher Pensions: Implications for Retention, Compensation, Quality, and Equity,” presents research on a variety of policy issues surrounding teacher pensions. This issue is provided open access on the AERA website.

The introduction to the special issue explores why teacher pensions should be of interest to the broader education research community. After explaining how pension plans work, the special issue guest editors, Kata Mihaly (RAND Corporation) and Michael Podgursky (University of Missouri, Columbia, and Saint Louis University), provide a brief literature review followed by a discussion of how the special issue contributes to the literature on a range of subject areas. The editors discuss the three topics related to teacher pensions that are covered in this issue: work force effects, teacher preferences, and plan sustainability.

The editors conclude that an important theme throughout the issue is that “pension plans create important incentives that shape teachers’ behavior and the teaching workforce. As education policy makers seek ways to staff classrooms with high-quality teachers, particularly in high-need schools, it is important to consider the ways in which teacher pension plans, and changes in these plans, can help or hinder these efforts.”

In addition to the introduction, the special issue includes the following articles and commentaries:

Feature Articles

  • A Structural Econometric Approach to Analyzing the Impact of Teacher Pension Reform (Wei Kong and Shawn Ni)
  • Incentivizing Retirement: An Analysis of Cash Retirement Incentives for Chicago Teachers (James Hosek, David Knapp, Michael G. Mattock, and Beth J. Asch)
  • How Much Do Teachers Value Compensation Deferred for Retirement? Evidence From Defined Contribution Rate Choices (Dan Goldhaber and Kristian L. Holden)
  • The Three R’s of Teacher Pension Funding: Redistribution, Return, and Risk (Robert M. Costrell)
  • The Long-Term Solvency of Teacher Pension Plans: How We Got to Now and Prospects for Recovery (Andrew G. Biggs)


  • Teacher Pension Reform Must Be About Cost and Design (Andrew J. Rotherham)
  • Commentary on Teacher Pension Papers (Richard J. Murnane)

Learn more about Educational Researcher on the AERA website.