THE SOCIAL INSURANCE RESEARCH NETWORK (SIRN), sponsored by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) The Social Insurance Research Network (SIRN), directed by Larry Atkins, President, National Academy of Social Insurance, is an online venue providing access to scholarly research and professional announcements in the Social Insurance community. Social Insurance includes the systems for insuring workers and their families against economic insecurity caused by the loss of income from work and the cost of health care, such as Social Security, Medicare, Workers' Compensation, unemployment insurance, related social assistance and private employee benefits. NASI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas. SIRN is dedicated to increasing communication among social insurance scholars, practitioners, and policy makers throughout the world.

Table of Contents

Evidence of Increasing Differential Mortality: A Comparison of the HRS and SIPP

Barry Bosworth, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program
Kan Zhang, Brookings Institution

Facing a Biased Adviser While Choosing a Retirement Plan. The Impact of Financial Literacy and Fair Disclosure.

Eyal Carmel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Dana Carmel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Psychology
David Leiser, Dept. of Psychology - Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Avia Spivak, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics

Shifting the Place of Social Security: Welfare Reform and Social Rights Under the Coalition Government's Austerity Programme

Jed Meers, University of York, York Law School, Students


"Evidence of Increasing Differential Mortality: A Comparison of the HRS and SIPP" Free Download
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College Working Paper No. 2015-13

BARRY BOSWORTH, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program
KAN ZHANG, Brookings Institution

This paper uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to explore the extent of a widening in life expectancies by socioeconomic status (SES) for older persons. We construct four alternative measures of SES, using educational attainment, average (career) earnings in the prime working ages of 41-50, wealth, and occupational classifications.

The paper finds that: There is strong statistical evidence in both the SIPP and HRS of a growing inequality of mortality risk by SES across birth cohorts from 1910 to 1961. Growing inequality in mortality risk is evident using all four indicators of SES, but it is strongest for the measures based on career earnings and educational attainment. The secular changes in differential mortality are very large, but their influence on the length of time for which people receive benefits has been dampened by legal restrictions on early retirement for low-SES individuals and by voluntary postponement of retirement at the top of the distribution. Self-reported health status is a highly significant predictor of mortality risk, but its inclusion in the statistical models has only a marginal effect on the evidence of differential mortality operating through the various SES indicators. The combination of survey measures of the various SES indicators and the administrative records covering earnings, death records, and OASDI benefits provides a particularly large and rich data set for the analysis of mortality experience and its implications for the distribution of benefits.

The policy implications of the findings are: Indexing the retirement age to increases in average life expectancy to stabilize OASDI finances may have substantial unintended distributional consequences, because most mortality gains have been concentrated among workers with relatively high SES.

"Facing a Biased Adviser While Choosing a Retirement Plan. The Impact of Financial Literacy and Fair Disclosure." Free Download
Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2015 Forthcoming

EYAL CARMEL, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
DANA CARMEL, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Psychology
DAVID LEISER, Dept. of Psychology - Ben Gurion University of the Negev
AVIA SPIVAK, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics

Buying a retirement saving plan in Israel involves meeting with an agent whose interests may differ from those of his or her customers. The aim of the present study was to explore the effect of the advice given by the agent, along with that of two further factors: a fair disclosure statement regarding ‎the agent’s ‎conflict of interest, and the customer's degree of financial literacy. Two experiments conducted among undergraduate students in Israel showed that customers ‎mostly ‎follow the agent's recommendation, even against their best ‎interest, and despite the presence of a fair disclosure statement. Only participants with high financial literacy, who received a disclosure statement, did examine the alternatives closely and rejected the advice when the recommendation was damaging. We also ruled out the existence of a negative psychological reactance response to a disclosure statement that would work to the detriment of financially literate participants.

"Shifting the Place of Social Security: Welfare Reform and Social Rights Under the Coalition Government's Austerity Programme" Free Download
Jed Meers, 'Shifting the Place of Social Security: Welfare Reform and Social Rights under the Coalition Government's Austerity Programme' (2015)

JED MEERS, University of York, York Law School, Students

The overall focus of the changing nature of social rights protection under austerity needs to be linked, of course, with specific investigations of the administration of social welfare law and policy in the age of austerity. As part of this, a report has been complied analysing the UK Coalition Government’s welfare reform agenda by Jed Meers.

It seeks to outline and analyse the key reforms and legal challenges stemming from the Welfare Reform Act 2012, and identify key problems with the current legal tools available to challenge reforms and key themes arising in the case law.


About this eJournal

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts on all topics related to old age pensions and retirement. This includes papers on social security, employment based pensions and other publicly provided or tax-favored mechanisms for retirement income. The journal welcomes submissions from any discipline and a broad range of topic areas, including benefit adequacy, pension finance, the design and reform of social security and pension systems, retirement policy, and comparative analyses of U.S. pension and retirement issues with those of other countries.

Editors: Patricia Dilley, University of Florida, and Laurence Seidman, University of Delaware


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Advisory Board

Social Security, Pensions & Retirement Income eJournal

Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program

Director, Management, Finance and Leadership Program - University of Maryland

Walter Coles Professor of Law Emeritus, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

Frank J. Manning Eminent Scholar's Chair in Gerontology, University of Massachusetts Boston - Gerontology Institute

Professor of Social Work and Public Administration, Syracuse University - School of Social Work

Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, Executive Director, Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter F. Drucker Professor in Management Sciences, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research

University Professor, Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Attorney and Consultant, Arnold & Porter, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board

Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

Research Director, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Professor of Sociology, Boston College - Department of Sociology