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Volume 10 Issue 2 - May 2009

Director's Corner

This Newsletter features two separate write-ups of recent MRRC-sponsored events. The first write-up highlights the April 2009 MRRC Researcher Workshop in Ann Arbor. This annual event provides an opportunity for MRRC researchers with current, past, or prospective future projects to present the main idea of their work and receive comments. We had about 55 attendees, including Manuel de la Puente, Irena Dushi, Jason Fichtner, and Lynn Fisher from SSA. The Workshop included a lunch panel on housing price declines, and a second on future issues and data needs for research on SSDI.  An important goal of the Retirement Research Consortium is to encourage academic and other researchers to study issues and topics of special interest to Social Security, and this Workshop has proven to be a good recruiting tool in this regard – as well as a useful chance to exchange ideas and think about new projects.

A second write-up describes a conference in late March on financial literacy that MRRC co-sponsored at Brookings Institution in Washington. The personal and social costs of financial illiteracy have become a topic of ever greater policy interest. This conference not only discussed these costs but also provided illustrations of possible remedial strategies and of the roles of different agencies and departments in the federal government in promoting improvement. Finding efficient ways to enhance financial literacy is a topic with both theoretical and practical dimensions. It seems likely that more and better data will be needed to guide policy efforts in the future and that laying the foundations for obtaining such data should begin as soon as possible.