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Keywords:401(k) plans 

Working Paper
Borrowing from yourself: 401(k) loans and household balance sheets

We examine 401(k) borrowing since 1992 and identify a puzzle: despite potential gains from borrowing against 401(k) assets instead of from other sources, most eligible households eschew 401(k) loans, including many who carry relatively expensive balances on credit cards and auto loans. We estimate that households with access to 401(k) loans could have saved about $3.3 billion in 2004--about $200 per household--by shifting debt to 401(k) loans. We find that liquidity constrained households are most likely to borrow against their accounts; however, the fastest growth has been among higher ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2008-42

Working Paper
Investor behavior and the purchase of company stock in 401(k) plans - the importance of plan design

Using panel data for nearly 1,000 companies during 1991 to 2000, this paper finds that employees allocated nearly 20 percent of their total 401(k) contributions to purchases of company stock, and then relates this share to plan design features and firm financial characteristics. We find that the number of investment alternatives offered, n, and whether the company requires some of the match to be in company stock are key factors of the share of total contributions in company stock. We cannot reject the hypothesis that participants invest 1/n of their contributions in company stock. In ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2002-36

Working Paper
401(k) matching contributions in company stock: costs and benefits for firms and workers

This paper examines why some employers provide matching contributions to 401(k) plans in company stock and explores the implications of match policy for employee retirement wealth. Unlike stock option grants to non-executives, a firm's decision to match in company stock does not appear to be strongly correlated with cash flow or with measures of the benefits of aligning incentives of employees and employers. Rather, we find evidence that firms are more likely to provide the match in company stock if firm risk is low (i.e. lower stock price volatility and lower bankruptcy risk) and employees ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2004-23

Working Paper
New evidence on 401(k) borrowing and household balance sheets

Despite news reports suggesting a rise in 401(k) borrowing in recent years, we find that the share of eligible households with 401(k) loans in the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances was about 15 percent, roughly what it has been since 1995. We find that the best predictors of 401(k) borrowing appear to be the presence of liquidity or borrowing constraints and the size of 401(k) balances relative to income. Since the ongoing financial crisis has likely caused these factors to move in opposite directions, the predicted effect of the crisis on 401(k) borrowing is ambiguous. More fundamentally, we ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2009-19

Working Paper
Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004

We document large differences in trend changes in hours worked across OECD countries over the period 1956-2004. We then assess the extent to which these changes are consistent with the intratemporal first order condition from the neoclassical growth model. We find large and trending deviations from this condition, and that the model can account for virtually none of the changes in hours worked. We then extend the model to incorporate observed changes in taxes. Our findings suggest that taxes can account for much of the variation in hours worked both over time and across countries.
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 06-16

Working Paper
Portfolio choice in tax-deferred and Roth-type savings accounts

This paper uses numerical methods to compare optimal portfolios in tax-deferred and Roth-type savings accounts. Income and payroll taxes affect optimal portfolios in tax-deferred and Roth-type plans differently. For workers with assets in only one type of plan, the optimal equity share in a tax-deferred account could be higher or lower than in a Roth, depending on initial wealth. The differences in optimal portfolios between plans are large at short investment horizons but smaller at longer horizons. This paper also studies the 'asset location' decision of workers with assets in plans of both ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 03-08

Journal Article
On the record: Baby boomers face a changing retirement landscape: a conversation with Anil Kumar

Many baby boom era workers, those born between 1946 and 1962, count on various retirement benefits accumulated during their working years to ensure adequate resources as they grow older. A man turning 65 today can expect to live to age 83; a woman to age 85, according to Social Security Administration data. One in 10 will live past age 95. Dallas Fed economist Anil Kumar discusses the retirement outlook for baby boomers and growth of 401(k)-type retirement accounts.
Southwest Economy , Issue Q4 , Pages 8-9

Journal Article
Economic force: defense spending has significant presence in the region

TEN , Issue Sum , Pages 18-25

Working Paper
Out of Sight No More? The Effect of Fee Disclosures on 401(k) Investment Allocations

We examine the effects of a 2012 regulatory reform that mandated fee and performance disclosures for the investment options in 401(k) plans. We show that participants became significantly more attentive to expense ratios and short-term performance after the reform. The disclosure effects are stronger among plans with large average contributions per participant and weaker for plans with many investment options. Additionally, these results are not driven by secular changes in investor behavior or sponsor-initiated changes to the investment menus. Our findings suggest that providing salient fee ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-078


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