MRRC Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 2
December 2000

   With profound sadness, we announce that Lee A. Lillard, Director of the Michigan Retirement Research Center, senior research scientist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, and professor of economics, died December 2 at his home in Ann Arbor after a heart attack. An applied econometrician and labor economist, Lillard made important contributions to the study of life cycle earnings, marriage, fertility, divorce, mortality, intergenerational mobility, and a variety of other issues.

   Before joining the U-M in 1998, Lillard spent 20 years at RAND, where he held a variety of positions. "As the founding director of RAND's Center for the Study of Aging, he established one of the leading research programs on aging in the world," said James P. Smith, a friend and RAND colleague. While at RAND, he received a National Institute on Aging MERIT Award, the most prestigious award given by the National Institutes of Health.

   "Lee was well known in the fields of economics and demography as an incredibly energetic researcher who was always eager to expand into new fields," said David Lam, U-M professor of economics and director of the Population Studies Center at the ISR. "He was also a great collaborator who was committed to interdisciplinary research. We were very fortunate to have attracted him to the University of Michigan, and we will greatly miss his enthusiastic personality and his exceptional research abilities."

   While at the U-M, he also served as a member of the steering committee of the Health and Retirement Study, directed by economist Robert J. Willis. "Lee was my friend, collaborator and colleague for more than twenty-five years," said Willis. "Throughout his career he made significant and immediate contributions to his profession with his keen intellect and intense commitment to doing the best possible social science research. His leadership of the Michigan Retirement Research Center reflected his commitment to giving public policy a firm basis in social science."

   “The Social Security Administration initiated the Retirement Research Consortium (RRC) in 1998 to serve as a national resource fostering research, communication, and education on retirement income policy,” according to Paul N. Van de Water, Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at SSA. “We were very fortunate to have Lee Lillard lead the center at the University of Michigan. Lee truly reflected all of the characteristics SSA envisioned for the RRC: being committed to high-quality research, applying his knowledge to important questions of public policy, and training young scholars to do the same. Lee organized a group of colleagues committed to the same goals together to create the Michigan Retirement Research Center. His accomplishments as director and scholar will be widely remembered. We at Social Security will miss him greatly."

   Alicia H. Munnell, a colleague who directs the RRC center at Boston College affirms Lillard’s commitment to good science as the foundation for policy. "During his distinguished career, Lee Lillard made many valuable contributions to economics and public policy. Lee believed that policy decisions should be informed by first class analysis and he devoted his life to that principle. Lee also took on a major administrative role as Director of MRRC. In that capacity, he encouraged other scholars – including established researchers, junior faculty, and graduate students -- to write on retirement issues. Lee's presence will be sorely missed."

   A memorial service is planned for January 27, 2001 at RAND, Santa Monica. For information about the service, please contact the MRRC at

Regular Features:

Issue in Brief
   Responses to
   Early Social
   Security Benefit
News Notes 3
   Qualifying for
   Social Security
Inside This Issue:

   Sandell Grant

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Visit the MRRC Booth at the Annual Meeting of the Allied Social Science Association in New Orleans, January 5-7, 2001.

We'll have a new look for the board and copies of the complete working papers for our first two Issues in Brief.
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