Pension Estimation Program Package

Since its inception, an important goal of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) project has been to assist researchers who are interested in estimating pension wealth and predicting future income from pensions. To this end, the project has implemented a process for obtaining and analyzing pension information. Periodically, the HRS obtains pension Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) from the employers of study respondents. These SPDs are then analyzed and coded, and the plan description data, along with specific data from the respondents, are prepared for analysis by a locally developed software product known as the Pension Estimation Program (PEP). This program is designed to estimate the pension entitlements held by respondents of the HRS, based on the plan formulas and benefit provisions obtained from the linked sample of pension providers. The PEP uses systems of equations to represent each of the pension plans, including all benefit formulas and payment provisions. These equations, in turn, use as input work and income histories of the respondents. For a given set of assumptions, the program calculates the appropriate pension entitlements, and generates output data files for subsequent analysis.

Product Details

See User Guide and Database Overview, below.
Product Type
Pension Estimation
Entry Cohort Info
HRS: (1992, 1998, 2004, 2010); CODA: (1998, 2004, 2010); WB: (1998, 2004, 2010); EBB: (2004, 2010); MBB: (2010)
Latest Release April 2016 (v3.1)
Version Notes
  • The 2016 version of the Pension Estimation Program was created for use with the HRS 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010 Pension Plan databases. The software and databases are packaged and distributed together.
  • Testing in April 2016 revealed a bug in the program's ability to produce estimates for simulated respondents for study years prior to 2010. This is corrected in the current version. This testing also revealed a problem in 1992 data when normal retirement estimates for Plan 345 include retirement at age 30 and that normal retirement formula for that plan in 1992 is corrected in the current version.
Documentation and Links

The Pension Estimation Program and accompanying databases are available to researchers through the MiCDA Data Enclave.