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Volume 10 Issue 2 - May 2009

MRRC Researcher Workshop

For the fifth consecutive year, MRRC hosted a researcher workshop in Ann Arbor.  MRRC Director John Laitner was pleased to welcome over fifty MRRC researchers and several colleagues from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Participating from the SSA were Jason Fichtner,  Acting Deputy Commissioner and Associate Commissioner, Office of Retirement Policy, Manuel de la Puente, Associate Commissioner, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, Irena Dushi, Economist, and Lynn Fisher, Economist.

The workshop began with a session on the Current Financial Crisis and Retirement chaired by John Laitner.  Susann Rohwedder got things started with her work on the American Life Survey: Evidence on How the Financial Crisis Has Affected American Households. Alan Gustman presented his paper Pension Changes and Retirement Preparedness: the Trend to Defined Contribution Plans and the Vulnerability of the Retirement Age Population to the Stock Market Decline. John Sabelhaus presented on Pensions After the Stock Market Crash. 

Dan Silverman next chaired a session on Life-cycle Saving. Julie Zissimopoulos discussed her work on Marriage Shocks and Wealth Changes over the Lifecycle. Steve Haider  presented his paper How Well are Individuals Financially Prepared for Retirement? The Long View.  Ananth Seshadri reported on the Impact of Social Security on Fertility.  Dan Benjamin ended the panel with Genetic Influences on Economic Behavior.

Michael Hurd served as chair for the next session on the topic of Financial Investment. Olivia Mitchell and Ning Tang presented the latest findings form their joint work on the Efficiency of 401(k) Investment Menus and Individual Portfolio Choice.  Raimond Maurer discussed the Impact of Social Security Benefits and Flexible Labor Supply on Household Life-cycle Asset Allocation and Location.

Larry Kotlikoff chaired a luncheon panel on Housing Price Declines and Retirement Well-being. Michael Hurd, Annamaria Lusardi, and Frank Stafford served as panelists.

In the afternoon, Alan Gustman chaired a session on Social Security. Larry Kotlikoff led off with his work estimating the True Cost of Social Security.  Emma Aguila  reported on an Experimental Design of a Social Security System.  Shinichi Nishiyama discussed his paper A Dynamic Equilibrium Analysis of Tax-deferred Retirement Savings Accounts. 

Dan Silverman chaired a session entitled Life-cycle Saving: Transfers. John Bailey Jones first presented on his work looking at End-of-Life Medical Expenditures: Two-sided Altruism, and Inter-vivos Transfers. Janice Compton then discussed her paper Proximity of Adult Children and Their Parents.

David Weir served as chair of a session on Health and Retirement. Pierre-Carl Michaud discussed Understanding the Economic Consequences of Shifting Trends in Population Health. Max Schmeiser reported on the Impact of Fatness on Early Receipt of Social Security Old-Age Benefits.  Kara Zivin discussed her work on Depression and Retirement in Older Adults.  To finish the session, Gemma Zamarro presented her paper Retirement Effects on Health in Europe.

On the second day of the workshop, Jason Fichtner served as chair of a session on Financial Literacy. Annamaria Lusardi discussed her work on the topic in a paper entitled Financial Literacy over the Life-cycle. Hugo Benitez-Silva presented his paper Social Security Literacy and Retirement Well-being.

Olivia Mitchell next chaired a the first of two sessions on the center’s disability research. Richard Burkhauser led the session with his paper entitled The Importance of Anti-Discrimination and Workers’ Compensation Laws on the Provision of Workplace Accommodations Following the Onset of a Disability.  Nicole Maestas reported on her recent findings on the Labor Supply Effects of Disability Insurance Work Disincentives. David Stapleton discussed The Impact of Disability Onset on the Household Incomes of Older Workers.

Olivia Mitchell also chaired the second session on disability with Susan Chen presenting on her work on Disability Insurance and Spousal Labor Supply.  Arie Kapteyn reported on Work Disability and Labor Force Status in Europe and the US. and Jody Schimmel discussed recent results of her study with David Stapleton, How Common is Parking Among SSDI Beneficiaries?

Manuel de la Puente chaired a luncheon panel entitled Disability Research: Issues and Data. Panelists were Richard Burkhauser, John Bound, and David Stapleton.

The day ended with a session on Program Efficiency, chaired by John Laitner. Helen Levy presented her paper Economic Hardship and the Elderly: How Important is Failure to Take-up Public Programs?  Frank Heiland discussed Early Retirement, Labor Supply, and Benefit Withholding: The Role of the Social Security Earnings Test.