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Volume 9 Issue 2 - May 2008

MRRC Research Workshop

With unusually lovely spring weather on our side, MRRC welcomed nearly 60 researchers to its 4th annual research workshop for two days of collegial exchange. MRRC Director John Laitner was very pleased to welcome from the Social Security Administration Jason Fichtner, Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy, David Pattison, Director of the Division of Economic Research, and Economist Jae Song.

The workshop began with a session on Social Security Programs chaired by John Laitner. Kent Smetters described his work on the Optimal Design of Social Security; Susann Rohwedder presented her paper entitled Individual Responses to Social Security Benefit Cuts; Warren C. Sanderson presented on Anticipating the Next Round of Increases in the Age of Receipt of a Full Social Security Pension; Alejandra Cox Edwards presented her joint work with Estelle James on Work and Retirement Choices of Men: The Impact of Social Security Rules in Chile.

John Karl Scholz next chaired a panel discussion on the Future of Social Security with panelists Joyce Manchester, Kent Smetters, and John Laitner offering insights.

Laitner welcomed special luncheon speaker Guillermina Jasso, Professor of Sociology at New York University. Dr. Jasso described the wide breadth of information available for retirement researchers in the New Immigrant Survey and even provided a glimpse into some of the results one might anticipate. A link to the data is available on the MRRC website under Data Resources.

After lunch, David Pattison chaired a session on Immigration. Emma Aguila presented results from her work with Julie Zissimopoulos on the Labor Market and Immigration Behavior of Middle-Aged and Elderly Mexicans; and Purvi Sevak presented early findings from her project Immigrant Native Fertility and Mortality Differentials, joint work with Lucie Schmidt.

Jason Fichtner chaired the next session entitled Pensions and Retirement. Motohiro Yogo presented on Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets; Olivia S. Mitchell presented her joint work with Raimond Maurer on Asset Allocation and Location over the Life Cycle with Survival-Contingent Payouts; Viviana Vélez-Grajales discussed her work on How Pension Rules Affect Work and Contribution Patterns: The Chilean Case; and Kandice Kapinos presented on Corporate Use of Cash Balance Pension Plans.

The day ended with the first of two sessions on Life-cycle Saving with David Blau serving as Chair. Mark Aguiar presented his joint work with Eirk Hurst on Deconstructing Life Cycle Expenditure; Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln presented on Evidence on the Life Cycle Model from German Reunification; Amy Rauer discussed early results on her project with Benjamin Karney and Julie Zissimopoulos entitled Marital Histories and Economic Well-being: Preliminary Findings; Nicole Maestas wrapped up the day with a presentation of her work with Xiaoyan Li on Burnout and the Retirement Decision.

The second day began with the second session on Life-cycle Saving chaired by Eric French. John Karl Scholz presented his joint work with Ananth Seshardi Are All Americans Saving Optimally for Retirement; Emma Aguila discussed Pension Reform in Mexico: The Effect of Personal Retirement Accounts on Preparation for Retirement; David Blau presented findings on his work on Pensions, Saving, and Retirement; Helen Levy described her work with Kristin Seefeldt entitled How Do Low-Income Women Think About Retirement?; and Kristin Mammen presented on the Long-term Effects of the Divorce Revolution.

John Bound chaired the first of two sessions on Health & Disability. Richard Burkhauser presented A Cautionary Tale of Not Being Expected to Work in America: The Relative Economic Fate of Single Mothers and Working Age People with Disabilities Over the last Quarter Century.

Ahmed Khwaja discussed findings from his work on Moral Hazard, Adverse Selection and Health Expenditures: A Semiparametric Analysis; Dan Silverman presented Sources of Advantages Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market. Arie Kapetyn discussed Why Does Self-reported Disability Vary Across Countries?; and Huan Ni presented findings from her work with Hugo Bentiez-Silva on Measuring the Effects of Heath Dynamics on Retirement Decisions. Olivia Mitchell chaired a second panel discussion on The Decumulation Phase of the Life-cycle. Presenters included Bob Willis, Jacqui Smith, Frank Stafford, and Michael Hurd.

Michael Hurd chaired the second session on Health & Disability. Eric French presented on his work with John Bailey Jones on Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles. Estelle James presented on The Impact of Private Participation on Disability Costs: Evidence from Chile. Max Schmeiser disscussed his paper with Richard Burkhauser: The Impact of Fatness on Disability Insurance Application by the Non-Elderly.

A final session entitled Rational Planning was chaired by Bob Willis. Presentations included Financial literacy: An Overview of 3-years of Work by Annamaria Lusardi; Intertemporal Choice Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Evidence from Transaction-Level Data by Jonathan Zinman; and Social Identity and Preferences by Daniel Benjamin.