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Themes in the Economics of Aging

In the past few years, the economic ramifications of aging have garnered close attention from a group of NBER researchers led by David A. Wise. In this volume, Wise and his collaborators continue to analyze a nexus of age-related issues.

This volume begins by looking at the implications of private and public personal retirement plans, focusing in particular on the impact of 401(k) programs on retirement strategies in light of potential social security reform and factors such as annuitization and on asset accumulation. Next, the often-observed relationship between health and wealth is dissected from two different perspectives and correlated with striking increases in health-care spending over the past two decades, despite the improved health of older populations. The volume concludes with an investigation of the retirement effects of various social security provisions in both U.S. and German systems.

This carefully developed collection expands the current investigative focus and broadens the dialogue on a rapidly growing area of social and economic concern.

368 pages | 77 line drawings, 101 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2001

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Economics--General Theory and Principles

Table of Contents

Part I - Personal Retirement Plans
1. Pre-Retirement Cashouts and Foregone Retirement Saving: Implications for 401(k) Asset Accumulation
James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti, and David A. Wise
Comment: John B. Shoven
2. The Personal Security Account 2000 Plan, Market Outcomes, and Risk
Sylvester J. Schieber and John B. Shoven
Comment: Steven F. Venti
3. Are the Elderly Really Over-Annuitized? New Evidence on Life Insurance and Bequests
Jeffrey R. Brown
Comment: Anne Case
Part II - Wealth and Health
4. Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts
Angus Deaton and Christina Paxson
Comment: James P. Smith
5. Predictors of Mortality among the Elderly
Michael D. Hurd, Daniel McFadden, and Angela Merrill
Comment: Finis Welch
Part III - Health Care
6. Trends in Medicare Spending Near the End of Life
Jeffrey Geppert and Mark McClellan
Comment: David M. Cutler
7. The Concentration of Medical Spending: An Update
David M. Cutler and Ellen Meara
Comment: Joseph P. Newhouse
8. The Sources of Cost Difference in Health Insurance Plans: A Decomposition Analysis
Matthew Eichner, Mark McClellan, and David A. Wise
Comment: Joseph P. Newhouse
Part IV - Social Security Provisions and Retirement
9. Incentive Effects of Social Security Under an Uncertain Disability Option
Axel Börsch-Supan
Comment: Daniel McFadden
10. Social Security Incentives for Retirement
Courtney Coile and Jonathan Gruber
Comment: Andrew A. Samwick
Part V - Bequests and Dissaving
11. Anticipated and Actual Bequests
Michael D. Hurd and James P. Smith
Comment: David Laibson

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