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Developments in the Economics of Aging

The number of Americans eligible to receive Social Security benefits will increase from forty-five million to nearly eighty million in the next twenty years. Retirement systems must therefore adapt to meet the demands of the largest aging population in our nation’s history. In Developments in the Economics of Aging, David A. Wise and a distinguished group of analysts examine the economic issues that will confront policy makers as they seek to design policies to protect the economic and physical health of these older Americans.

The volume looks at such topics as factors influencing work and retirement decisions at older ages, changes in life satisfaction associated with retirement, and the shift in responsibility for managing retirement assets from professional money managers of traditional pension plans to individual account holders of 401(k)s. Developments in the Economics of Aging also addresses the complicated relationship between health and economic status, including why health behaviors vary across populations and how socioeconomic measures correlate with health outcomes.

432 pages | 109 line drawings, 96 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2009

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Health Economics

Table of Contents

David A. Wise

I. Retirement Saving

1. Life-cycle Asset Allocation Strategies and the Distribution of 401(k) Retirement Wealth
James M. Poterba, Joshua Rauh, Steven F. Venti, and David A. Wise
Comment: Robert J. Willis

2. Reducing the Complexity Costs of 401(k) Participation through Quick Enrollment
James J. Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian
Comment: Jonathan Skinner

II. Intergenerational Transfers

3. Population Aging and Intergenerational Transfers: Introducing Age into National Accounts
Andrew Mason, Ronald Lee, An-Chi Tung, Mun-Sim Lai, and Tim Miller
Comment: Andrew Samwick

III. Retirement Behavior

4. The Effect of Large Capital Gains or Losses on Retirement
Michael D. Hurd, Monika Reti, and Susann Rohwedder
Comment: Courtney Coile

5. Early Retirement, Social Security, and Well-Being in Germany
Axel Börsch-Supan and Hendrik Jürges

IV. Health and Economic Circumstances

6. How Do The Better Educated Do It? Socioeconomic Status and the Ability to Cope With Underlying Impairment
David M. Cutler, Mary Beth Landrum, and Kate A. Stewart
Comment: Michael D. Hurd

7. Why Do Europeans Smoke More than Americans?
David M. Cutler and Edward L. Glaeser

8. Trends in Prescription Drug Use by the Disabled Elderly
Jay Bhattacharya, Alan M. Garber, and Thomas MaCurdy
Comment: Jonathan Skinner

9. Health and Well-Being in Udaipur and South Africa
Anne Case and Angus Deaton
Comment: Amitabh Chandra

10. The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic
James Banks, Michael Marmot, Zoe Oldfield, and James P. Smith

Author Index
Subject Index

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