About the Study

In 2016, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and funded Summit Consulting and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College to conduct An Analysis of Retirement Models to Improve Portability and Coverage. The literature, policy, and proposal review aims to summarize what is known about the current employer-based voluntary retirement system in the United States and explore a wide set of available options. This three-part analysis focuses on the 401(k) system, the coverage gap in employer-based voluntary retirement plans, and the challenges, identified through the literature review, that nontraditional workers—those who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan—face. Researchers reviewed the existing U.S. approaches to retirement and, as points of comparison, examine approaches used in the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

This Department of Labor-funded study contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform employee benefits programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.

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The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.