New paper from Fordham by Matt Chingos and Marty West looks at a natural experiment on teacher pensions that unfolded in Florida over the last decade (pdf). It’s significant for a couple of reasons. One, there is still more noise than signal in the unfolding debate about changes to teacher retirement schemes. It’s clear there is a serious sustainability problem, the best fixes that are both actuarially sound and good public policy for schools and teachers, much more contested. This is a useful analysis to help examine the issue. Second, and more generally, glasnost?! This is the kind of research that is sorely needed. Getting data on pensions has been a struggle for researchers. Some data systems can’t talk to one another and in too many places there is a deliberate effort not to share data. Even absent a Florida-like plan there are choices that workers in every state make that researchers could analyze with access to the appropriate data.