Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment

Edited by Jeffrey R. Brown, Jeffrey B. Liebman, and David A. Wise

Edited by Jeffrey R. Brown, Jeffrey B. Liebman, and David A. Wise

472 pages | 114 line drawings, 54 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2009
Cloth $110.00 ISBN: 9780226076485 Published June 2009
E-book $7.00 to $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226076508 Published December 2009
Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment analyzes the changing economic and demographic environment in which social insurance programs that benefit elderly households will operate.  It also explores how these ongoing trends will affect future beneficiaries, under both the current social security program and potential reform options.    In this volume, an esteemed group of economists probes the challenge posed to Social Security by an aging population.  The researchers examine trends in private sector retirement saving and health care costs, as well as the uncertain nature of future demographic, economic, and social trends—including marriage and divorce rates and female participation in the labor force. Recognizing the ambiguity of the environment in which the Social Security system must operate and evolve, this landmark book explores factors that policymakers must consider in designing policies that are resilient enough to survive in an economically and demographically uncertain society.




Jeffrey R. Brown, Jeffrey Liebman and David A. Wise



I. Innovative Approaches to Social Security Reform


1. Removing the Disincentives in Social Security for Long Careers

Gopi Shah Goda, John B. Shoven, and Sita Nataraj Slavov


Comment: Erzo F.P. Luttmer


2. Notional Defined Contribution Pension Systems in a Stochastic Context: Design and Stability

Alan J. Auerbach and Ronald Lee


Comment: Jeffrey Liebman


3. Reforming Social Security with Progressive Personal Accounts

John Geanakoplos and Stephen P. Zeldes


Comment: Jason Furman



II. Retirement Plan Choice


4. Who Chooses Defined Contribution Plans?

Jeffrey R. Brown and Scott J. Weisbenner


Comment: Brigitte C. Madrian


5. The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Saving Outcomes: Evidence from the United States

John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian


Comment: Jeffrey R. Brown



III. Reducing Financial Market Risk in Personal Retirement Accounts


6. Reducing the Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform

Martin Feldstein


Comment: David W. Wilcox

7. Pricing Personal Account Benefit Guarantees: A Simplified Approach

Andrew Biggs, Clark Burdick, and Kent Smetters


Comment: George G. Pennacchi


8. Reducing Social Security PRA Risk at the Individual Level – Lifecycle Funds and No-loss Strategies

James M. Poterba, Joshua Rauh, Steven F. Venti, and David A. Wise


Comment: Douglas W. Elmendorf


9. Changing Progressivity as a Means of Risk Protection in Investment-Based Social Security

Andrew A. Samwick


Comment: Michael Hurd



IV. Demographics, Asset Flows and Macroeconomic Markets


10. The Decline of Defined Benefit Retirement Plans and Asset Flows

James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti, and David A. Wise


Comment: Jonathan Skinner


11. Demographic Change, Relative Factor Prices, International Capital Flows, and their Differential Effects on the Welfare of Generations

Alexander Ludwig, Dirk Krüger, and Axel Börsch-Supan


Comment: James M. Poterba



V. Mortality Projections


12. Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?

David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser, and Allison B. Rosen


Comment: James P. Smith
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