NBER Center for Aging and Health Research

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Research Projects

Projects on Financial Status and Retirement

Personal Retirement Saving and Retiree Wealth has explored in detail the continued spread and maturation of 401(k) plans in the United States, and how these plans are likely to affect the financial circumstances of future retirees. (James Poterba, Steven Venti, David Wise)

Why Don't Americans Save for Retirement has developed some innovative saving models that build on psychological foundations to more fully explain various patterns of saving, including the reasons why 401(k) plans may be more effective in inducing saving than other financial vehicles. (David Laibson)

Portfolio Choice Over the Life Cycle has analyzed how households are investing their retirement savings, and how portfolio allocations vary as individuals age from their working years into retirement. (Andrew Samwick)

Protecting the Poor While Reforming Social Security has analyzed the redistributive implications of proposed reforms to Social Security, and how such reforms are likely to affect the well-being of lower-income elderly households. (Jeff Liebman)

Improving Data Measurement in Surveys of the Elderly has explored the design of survey questions, concentrating on income and wealth measurement where response errors and biases are a concern. It also made major methodological advances in the use of internet surveys. Each of these projects has contributed significantly to the research product of the Center over the past five years. (Daniel McFadden)

Pensions, Risk and Financial Status focuses on the risks associated with retirement saving in various forms; an issue of increasing importance with the growth of saving in personal retirement accounts. (James Poterba, Steven Venti, David Wise)

Psychological Factors in Economic Lifecycle Decisions deals with the psychological determinants of economic decision-making, and particularly the psychological influences on retirement saving decisions. (Ed Glaeser, David Laibson)

Determinants of Saving in 401(k) Plans is analyzing the determinants of individual 401(k) savings and investment choices, such as employer matching, automatic enrollment, workplace education, the investment options offered, the framing of plan information, and the default provisions of the plans. (David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian)

Non-Pecuniary Aspects of Retirement explores some of the broader factors that affect retirement, such as caregiving responsibilities for elderly parents, spouses, or grandchildren. (Kathleen McGarry)

Social Security and Retirement Around the World is exploring how the provisions of social security programs affect work and retirement decisions, taking advantage of the diverse policy features in different countries to better understand these labor market effects. (Jonathan Gruber, David Wise)

Projects on Health and Health Care

Medical Expenditures of the Elderly has analyzed comprehensive Medicare claims data to better understand the medical expenditures, medical care treatments, and health of the elderly. The project has also explored the inter-relationships between diseases, treatment patterns, expenditures, and outcomes. (Alan Garber, Thomas MaCurdy)

Population Aging, Medical Costs and Value of Technology has explored the costs and benefits of technological advances in the treatment of common diseases for the elderly. (David Cutler)

Access to Medical Care has examined differences in access to medical services for people with different types of insurance, and how the medical care financing system has affected access overall. These projects have contributed collectively to at least forty studies of health, health policy, health care utilization and costs. (David Cutler)

Explaining Health Decision-Making is examining health-related behaviors in the population and the factors that lead some people to make healthier lifestyle decisions. (David Cutler, Ed Glaeser)

Medical Care of the Disabled Elderly is exploring patterns of disability decline over the life course, establish links between disabilities and chronic diseases, and analyze the costs of health care for those with disabling conditions. (Alan Garber, Thomas MaCurdy)

Older-Age Health and Longevity: A Long-Term View is exploring factors that may have contributed to improving health and longevity over time, including medical advances, reduced infectious disease rates, improved socioeconomic factors, and improved nutrition. (Dora Costa)

Understanding Disability Among the Elderly is exploring various explanations for decreased functional disability, comparing various medical, economic and social factors that may have contributed to disability decline. (David Cutler)

Hospital Organization and Medical Productivity is considering how health care practices, costs and outcomes are affected by a hospital's organizational structure, including such characteristics as contractual affiliations among hospitals, private versus public ownership, and for-profit versus non-profit organizational form. (Dan Kessler)

Projects on Socioeconomic Status, Health and Health Disparities

Economic and Health Inequality focuses on economic inequality, rather than level, as a source of health disparities. (Anne Case, Angus Deaton, Christina Paxson)

Living Arrangements, Health and Wealth is analyzing how the living arrangements, health and wealth of individuals evolve jointly and interdependently from retirement through death. (Axel Borsch-Supan, Daniel McFadden, David Wise)

Social Determinants of Adult, Aging and Elderly Health extends previous work on economic status, economic inequality and health inequality, but with a new emphasis on the social determinants of health. (Anne Case, Angus Deaton)

Health Care and Health Status in Rajasthan, India is exploring the determinants of health among the adult and elderly population of a poor, rural district in India, and will generate tools and methods to select and evaluate interventions that could improve their health. (Esther Duflo)

The Dynamics of Health and Wealth combines both substantive analysis of the SES-health relationship and methodological advances that improve the measurement of health and wealth, expectations of future health and wealth, cognitive impairment, and other variables. (Daniel McFadden)

Lifecycle Health and Wealth in Transition Economies is exloring the link between health and economic circumstances in low-income and "transition" economies (where more than 70 percent of the world's population over age 65 reside), including the effects on health of sudden changes in economic circumstances. (Robert Jensen)

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