The cost of teachers’ retirement benefits is higher than those for private-sector professionals, researchers contend in a study that contrasts with other published reports on the topic.
The study draws on data from the National Compensation Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to compare teachers’ fringe benefits with those received by employees in a set of private-sector occupations that includes business and financial managers, accountants, computer programmers, engineers, lawyers, and nurses. It found that the rate of employer contributions to retirement benefits for public school teachers in 2008 amounted to 14.6 percent of earnings for teachers, far outpacing the 10.4 percent figure for private professionals.
Economists from the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri-Columbia conducted the study, which appears this month in Education Next, a journal published by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
In contrast, a study published in June 2007 in Phi Delta Kappan by the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found that employer contributions for teachers’ retirement benefits are no higher than those for private-sector professionals.
A version of this article appeared in the February 25, 2009 edition of Education Week