Zachary Christensen is a managing director of Reason Foundation's Pension Integrity Project.
Christensen’s work with Reason's Pension Integrity Project aims to promote solvent, sustainable retirement systems that provide retirement security for government workers while reducing long term costs for taxpayers and employees. Zachary and his team provides education, reform policy options, and actuarial analysis for policymakers and stakeholders to help them design reform proposals that are practical and viable.
The Pension Integrity Project has provided technical assistance to several successful pension reform efforts in recent years, including in Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, South Carolina, Texas and other states tackling persistent pension solvency challenges.
Christensen has contributed to in-depth solvency analysis of the Arizona PSPRS, Arkansas TRS, Louisiana TRSL, Texas ERS, and Texas TRS pension plans.
Christensen's work has been published in the Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, NJ.com, Colorado Politics, and many other publications. He has also been featured in the Carolina Journal and the Michigan Capitol Confidential. His research has been published by the Hoover Institution, The Platte Institute, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Rio Grande Foundation.
Prior to joining Reason Foundation, Christensen was a pension finance analyst at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where he worked on widely-cited research on the funding status and accounting methods for public sector retirement systems.
Christensen holds an M.S. in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and a B.S. in Political Science from Brigham Young University.
Webinar—Can investing public pension assets to further nonfinancial goals be consistent with fiduciary principles?
The exclusive purpose of investing pension assets must be to provide pension benefits.
Webinar: The Personal Retirement Optimization Plan
A plan for incorporating the benefits of 401(k)-style solutions into modern-day public sector retirement plans that give their workers flexibility and predictability of their benefits.
The Department of Labor’s new ESG rule puts the onus on states
This new rule sets the stage for state governments to establish their own standards.
Most state pension plans are not adequately prepared for a recession
A recession could add trillions in debt to public retirement systems’ existing unfunded liabilities.
Reformed pensions in Arizona, Michigan receiving supplemental funding to pay down debt faster
Arizona and Michigan’s recent treatment of funding for pension systems is an example of the value of comprehensive pension reform.
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas needs to adjust its investment return assumptions
TRS has accrued $47.6 billion in pension debt since 2002, and most of it, around $25 billion, came from investment returns falling below the plan's assumptions.
Alaska avoids attempt to roll back 2005 pension reform
Instead of unraveling pension progress, policymakers should seek to bolster the policies that brought resiliency and reliability.
The Great Resignation highlights the need for public pension plans to adapt to today’s mobile workforce
Governments should consider modernizing their retirement plans and options for workers who don’t intend to stay in one position or with one employer for multiple decades.
Comparing how much states contribute to public workers’ defined contribution retirement plans
Government employers should ensure their contributions to employees' defined contribution retirement plan are in line with industry best practices.