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Working Papers provide rapid dissemination of MRRC research findings. Many working papers are later published in journals and books. Bound copies of working papers are available on request.

Research Briefs offer concise summaries of key research findings from MRRC projects.

In the Researcher Q&A series our affiliated researchers discuss the findings and implications of their MRRC-supported research.

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All Publications


Setting Expectations for Claimant Ability to Work: Investigating the Occupational Requirements and Functional Capacity of Workers with Early Onset Health Conditions

WP 2019-404

When determining a claimant’s eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses whether his/her health condition (e.g., back/spine problems) sufficiently impairs his/her functional capacity (e.g., ability to lift/carry weight) so that the he/she is…

Estimating the Effects of the Totalization Agreements

WP 2019-403, UM19-Q2

This paper quantifies the effects of the totalization agreements that coordinate the United States Social Security program with the comparable programs of other countries. For each treated country that has signed an agreement with the U.S., we construct a synthetic…

Interest Rate Trends in a Global Context

WP 2019-402, UM19-05

Long-term interest rates have been falling globally since the early 1980s and have reached historically low levels. Past forecasts largely missed this secular decline. This paper reviews methodologies for making long-term interest rate projections. We synthesize results from studies that…

Trends in Health and Mortality Inequalities in the United States

WP 2019-401, UM19-04

Recent literature has documented a widening gap in mortality in the United States between individuals with high socioeconomic status (SES) and low SES. An important question is whether this trend will continue. In this paper we document trends and inequalities…

Latent Work Capacity and Retirement Expectations

WP 2019-400, UM19-02

Understanding how health decline influences retirement decisions is fundamental for the design of targeted policies that encourage working longer. While there is wide agreement on the relevance of age-related health decline for determining labor supply and retirement decisions, the process…

How Reliant are Older Americans on State and Local Government Pensions?

WP 2019-399, UM19-07

State and local government pension plans cover about 19.5 million participants, and many participants are heavily reliant on these pensions for retirement income. Most of these plans, however, are underfunded. Based on data from the Health and Retirement Study, we…

How Would 401(k) ‘Rothification’ Alter Saving, Retirement Security, and Inequality?

WP 2019-398, UM19-12

The U.S. has long incentivized retirement saving in 401(k) and similar retirement accounts by permitting workers to defer taxes on contributions, levying them instead when retirees withdraw funds in retirement. This paper develops a dynamic life-cycle model to show how…

The Growth and Geographical Variation of Nursing Home Self-Pay Prices

WP 2019-397, UM17-14

Nursing home care is arguably the largest financial risk for the elderly without private or social insurance coverage. The annual out-of-pocket expenditure can easily exceed $70,000. Despite the substantial financial burdens on the elderly, the understanding of nursing home self-pay…

Understanding Job Transitions and Retirement Expectations Using Stated Preferences for Job Characteristics

WP 2019-396, UM17-08

As the population ages in the United States and other countries, encouraging older individuals to work would help counter increasing dependency ratios and improve national economic outcomes. Extending working lives is likely not simply a function of improving monetary incentives.…

Estimating the Effects of the Totalization Agreements

rb403, UM19-Q2