This study’s underlying premise is that current pension plan accounting has two important negative effects. First, it distorts the measurement of earnings and net worth in the short run, as well as the pattern of earnings over future periods. Second, this distortion can send incorrect signals to investors about a firm’s health, resulting in the mispricing of a firm’s outstanding debt and equity instruments. The author demonstrates how these distortions are introduced, examines the magnitude of the distortions, and discusses proposals for reform.
JEL classification codes: E01, G12, G23, G35, M41