Introduction to "Insights in the Economics of Aging"
This is the sixteenth in a series of NBER volumes that highlight economics of aging research. The demographic backdrop to the research in this volume is substantially different from when the program began 30 years ago. Today, the leading edge of the baby boom generation is entering their 70s. Many are retiring from paid work, yet they are living longer than ever. Their health and financial wellbeing are shaped by individual decisions people made through the life course, as well as by unanticipated events, economic conditions, medical innovations, and a rapidly evolving landscape of policy incentives and supports. What is most apparent from the research conducted through the program over the years is how integrally related are the multiple dimensions of people’s wellbeing. The current volume is organized in three sections, corresponding to three aspects of wellbeing: financial, physical and emotional. The first four chapters look at factors relating to people’s financial circumstances in later life, such as saving, homeownership, and the use of accumulated assets in retirement. The next five chapters in the volume focus on health and disability. The last two chapters in the volume explore issues in mental health, emotional wellbeing, life satisfaction, or happiness.