Defined Benefit Pensions: Survey of Sponsors of Large Defined Benefit Pension Plans (GAO-08-818SP, July 2008), an E-supplement to GAO-08-817

Read the Full Report: Defined Benefit Pensions: Information from GAO Survey on Frozen Defined Benefit Plans (GAO-08-817)


Over the last five years, a number of large, high profile employers have announced their intention to freeze-- an amendment to the plan to limit some or all future pension accruals for some or all plan participants-- their larger defined benefit (DB) plans that represent a significant portion of plan liabilities and plan participants in the private DB system. To better understand the current plan freeze environment and its significance to the DB system going forward, GAO conducted a study of sponsors of tax-qualified, single-employer, defined benefit (DB) plans that had 100 or more total participants. Specifically, we surveyed a stratified probability sample of plan sponsors about their experiences with DB plans and plan freezes. We obtained a weighted response rate of 78 percent. A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology is contained in our report: Defined Benefit Pensions: Plan Freezes Affect Millions of Participants and May Pose Retirement Income Challenges, GAO-08-817 (Washington, D.C.: July 21, 2008). We administered the survey from November, 2007 through May 2008 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Instructions for Viewing this Survey

Special Viewing Instructions

These tables are a product of combining the results of two questionnaires-- the first 17 questions and last question from a web questionnaire to large plan sponsors (with 50,000 or more participants) and a shorter mail questionnaire with the same 18 questions to smaller plan sponsors (100 to less than 50,000 participants). This document presents the results using the web survey format, including the navigation and introduction material from the web survey.

How to View The Surveys

  • Click on the Table of Contents link located in the lower right of this screen. To read to the bottom of the screen, you may need to use your scroll bar on the right side of this screen.
  • The first screen in the survey is an introduction and general information that was sent to and viewed by recipients of the survey. There are no survey results to view on this screen. This screen is for information only and you may by-pass it by clicking on Next located at the bottom of the screen in the lower right.
  • The survey may have links to allow respondents to bypass inapplicable questions (skip patterns). While these were active links during the data collection period, they have now been disabled.
  • When a respondent wrote a narrative response to a question, we sometimes present the percent of respondents making a comment.

How to View the Responses for Each Question

  • To view the responses to each question, click on the question number (Links to survey questions will look like this: 1., etc.).
  • After viewing the responses to each question, click on the "x" in the upper right corner of your screen to close that window and return to the questionnaire.

How to Return to a Page That You Previously Visited

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Contact Information?

  • If you have questions concerning these data, please contact Barbara Bovbjerg at (202)512-5491 or by e-mail at Barbara Bovbjerg.
Table of Contents
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