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Main photo Promoting research on retirement and Social Security policy

Volume 17, Issue 1 - March 2017

Director’s corner

The research symposium, which was held at the Department of the Treasury, included four panels with four presenters each as well as a lunchtime Keynote Address by William Spriggs, who is Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO and Chairman of the Economics Department at Howard University. Dr. Spriggs was introduced by Carolyn Colvin, then Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. The panels focused on the changing nature of pensions, health and longevity, and new resources for retirees, such as reverse annuity mortgages. There was special emphasis on recent contributions from behavioral analysis and new data sources, as well as data needs for research in the future.

Among the 2016 research projects described below, several dealt with possible implications of the Affordable Care Act. For example, a project carried out by Helen Levy, Thomas Buchmueller, and Sayeh Nikpay explored changes in insurance coverage brought about by the ACA. Similarly, work by Alan Gustman, Thomas Steinmeier, and Nahid Tabatabai studied the possible effects of new options for health insurance on people’s willingness to retire before age-65 eligibility for Medicare. Gustman et al. used a structural model of household life-cycle behavior developed in previously funded MRRC research: They were able to address a topic of great current interest using intellectual capital from past RRC grant-funded investments.