Not How Much But How? The Ethics of Cash Balance Pension Conversions

PRIVATE RETIREMENT SECURITY: SOCIAL AND ETHNICAL ISSUES, Robert Kolb, ed., Blackwell, 2008

Posted: 20 Jan 2009

See all articles by Michael E. Johnson-Cramer

Michael E. Johnson-Cramer

Bucknell University - Department of Management

Robert A. Phillips

York University - Schulich School of Business

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

This paper explores the ethical issues arising from the conversion to cash balance pension plans in medium and large U.S. corporations. The conventional critique of these controversial plans centers on fundamental questions of distributive justice and rests on arguments dating back to the formulation of U.S. pension law. Since that time, however, the conditions which gave rise to these arguments have changed. Absent a persuasive argument concerning the distributional patterns of cash balance plans, we address them as a question of organizational ethics. Integrating insights from stakeholder theory, integrative social contracts theory, and empirical research on these conversions, we advance a critique of cash balance plan conversions based on common procedural approaches to these conversions.

Suggested Citation

Johnson-Cramer, Michael E. and Phillips, Robert A., Not How Much But How? The Ethics of Cash Balance Pension Conversions (2008). PRIVATE RETIREMENT SECURITY: SOCIAL AND ETHNICAL ISSUES, Robert Kolb, ed., Blackwell, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1326657

Michael E. Johnson-Cramer

Bucknell University - Department of Management ( email )

Lewisburg, PA 17837
570-577-1756 (Phone)

Robert A. Phillips (Contact Author)

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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