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Main photo Promoting research on retirement and Social Security policy

Volume 16, Issue 1 - March 2016

Director's corner

The first two blog postings highlight research of Mariacristina De Nardi, Eric French, and John Bailey Jones, including their recent (WP 2015-322) MRRC project, “Couples’ and Singles’ Savings After Retirement.” The authors set up and calibrate a life-cycle model with uncertain longevity and medical expenses, in which they can study the importance of precautionary spending, wealth decumulation during retirement, and nursing-home use. They find that the average household spend-down at the death of a spouse is substantial—and greater for the final spouse.

Another recent posting features work by Yuanyuan Deng and Hugo A. Benítez-Silva on “Medicare Expenditures, Social Security Reform, and the Labor Force Participation of Older Americans” (WP 2015-330). This research examines indirect effects of 1983 Social Security reforms that, for instance, raise the age for full Social Security retirement benefits. The longer a worker remains on the job and covered by employer-provided health insurance, the lower Medicare expenses are. The authors show how large the savings for Medicare can be.

Susan Barnes, the MRRC external communications manager, is running the blog—with the participation of graduate students who are interested in the economics of aging. We hope that this new outlet will increase the efficiency and timeliness of our dissemination efforts.