Leveraging Their Power: Inside the Bureaucratic Relationships of Public Pension Governance Bodies and Their Agendas
McGowan, Caitlin Marie
Public pension systems manage some of the most significant assets of state government and exert enormous influence within the financial market. While recent research has begun examining the relationship external governmental factors (i.e. special interest influence, state partisanship, budgetary processes) and pension fund performance, there has been a relative absence of research on how internal governance factors have influenced funding and other behaviors that have the potential for broad state impacts and policy. Individual board member characteristics, as well as the institutional grounding of these systems within state political bureaucracy, may influence opportunities for politicized behavior and impact more than just funding levels but also investment choice and levers of corporate influence. As such, this dissertation project uses a mixed methods research design to examine the holdings of twenty-six state sponsored public pension systems and determine the extent to which varying organizational schemes and their independence (both at the individual level and the agency level) impact funding policies, steer investment priorities, as well as influence pension fund behavior as shareholders in the financial market.
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