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Volume 9 Issue 3 - July 2008

Director's Corner

This summer, the Social Security Retirement Research Consortium marks a milestone of ten years in existence and will host its 10th annual conference. Clearly, as a mechanism for drawing in new scholars to the study of Social Security and retirement and for generating a wide range of policy relevant research, the RRC has been a success. The popularity of the annual conference has grown as well. This issue of the newsletter contains the current version of the agenda. As always, there will be presentations, discussion, and audience question and answer. Peter Orszag, Director of the CBO, will deliver a luncheon address.

This year’s conference will focus on Determinants of Retirement Security. Measuring well-being in retirement has been a long-standing goal of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The HRS has a wealth of data on lifetime earnings (including linked SSA earning records), pensions (including pension provider links—supported by SSA), and assets. In recent years it has been expanded to include data on consumption. The Consumption and Activities Mail Survey (CAMS) data are collected through a mail survey, and SSA has been a prime supporter of this effort. MRRC researchers Michael Hurd and Susann Rohwedder have been at the forefront of helping to collect the CAMS data and have been using them for the past few years in a series of MRRC papers. Hurd and Rohwedder have argued that consumption is a much more reliable indicator of retiree well-being than is income. This issue highlights related work by these authors.

Hope to see you in August.