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Introduction Although employer-provided retirement plans are a relatively recent phenomenon in the private sector, dating from the late nineteenth century, public sector plans go back much further in history.From the Roman Empire to the rise of the early-modern nation state, rulers and legislatures have provided pensions for the workers who administered public programs.Most European countries maintained some type of formal pension system for their public sector workers by the late nineteenth century. Teachers, firefighters, and police officers were typically the first non-military workers to receive a retirement plan as part of their compensation.By 1930, pension coverage in the public sector was relatively widespread in the United States, with all federal workers being covered by a pension and an increasing share of state and local employees included in pension plans.In contrast, pension coverage in the private sector during the first three decades of the twentieth century remained very low, perhaps as low as 10 to 12 percent of the labor force (Clark, Craig, and Wilson 2003).Even today, pension coverage is much higher in the public sector than it is in the private sector.
As a result, on more than one occasion, a pension served as little more than a bribe to incite soldiers to serve as the personal troops of the politicians who secured the pension.
Military pensions, in particular, have a long history, and they have often been used as a key element to attract, retain, and motivate military personnel. Like military pensions, pensions for loyal civil servants date back centuries.
In the United States, pensions for disabled and retired military personnel predate the signing of the U. Prior to the nineteenth century, however, these pensions were typically handed out on a case-by-case basis; except for the military, there were few if any retirement with well-defined rules for qualification, contributions, funding, and so forth. municipalities offered plans prior to 1900, most public sector workers were not offered pensions until the first decades of the twentieth century.
These pensions were nominally disability payments not retirement pensions, though governments often awarded the latter on a case-by-case basis, and by the eighteenth century all of the other early-modern Great Powers — France, Austria, Spain, and Prussia — maintained some type of military pensions for their officer castes.
These public pensions were not universally popular.