Call for Papers — 2013 Conference on Public Pension Underfunding

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland invites the submission of research- and policy-oriented papers for the 2013 Conference on Public Pension Underfunding to be held on November 21-22, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio. The objective of this one-and-a-half-day conference is to highlight research and encourage a dialogue on the economic and financial market impacts of the fiscal burden on state and local governments resulting from underfunded public pension plans. To explore this topic, the conference will focus on three major themes:

  • The challenges state and local governments face in restoring balance in the funding of public pension plans
  • The impact of economic conditions, financial market volatility, and low interest rates on public pension plan investment portfolios
  • The ambiguity and evolution of the current legal environment regarding public pension reform

The conference will feature research and policy sessions including both presentations and discussion panels on related agenda topics.

Conference Format

The conference will bring together economists, legal scholars, subject matter experts, and industry practitioners to discuss recent research, share insights on emerging issues, and consider the policy dimensions stemming from the obligations of state and local governments.

Research Presentations — These sessions will follow the format of an academic workshop and comprise submitted research or white papers related to public pension plans, public finance, and public pension legal reform.

Policy Discussions — These sessions will provide a platform for speakers and panelists including policymakers, academics, and industry experts to share their insights on the policy dimensions of state and local government finance, public pension funds, and emerging legal issues.


We welcome submissions of high-quality research papers on topics related to state and local government finance, legal and operational aspects of public pension funds, and related public policy. A list of possible topics includes, but is not limited to:

  • Public pension fund plan design and funding strategies
  • Political incentives for public pension benefit changes and funding
  • Effect of GASB changes on incentives for public pension plan management
  • Governance of public pension fund investment portfolios and strategies
  • Strategies for determining assumptions for returns on public pension fund investments
  • Optimal allocations for public pension assets (e.g. risk parity, liability matching, and optimal diversification)
  • Risk measurement and management for public pension funds
  • Public pension reform and legal liability for plan obligations
  • Public employee contracts in Chapter 9 bankruptcy
  • Implications of fiscal stress on municipal bond markets
  • Potential impacts on the stability of the financial system

Paper Submission Procedure

The deadline for submissions is August 29, 2013. Please send completed papers or a detailed abstract by e-mail to: and include "PUBLIC PENSION CONFERENCE" in the subject line. Final conference papers will be due on October 25, 2013. Questions about the Call for Papers or the 2013 Conference on Public Pension Plans can be directed to John Carlson at or Paula Tkac at

Sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.