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Perspectives from the President's Commission on Social Security Reform

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  • John F. Cogan
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

Recently we were asked to serve on the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security (CSSS) along with 14 other members drawn equally from both major political parties. The Commission's charge was to provide recommendations to modernize the Social Security system, restore its fiscal soundness, and develop a workable system of Personal Retirement Accounts. This paper explains how the Commission arrived at some of its recommendations and the role that economics played in contributing to these recommendations. We describe the key institutional constraints confronting efforts to reform Social Security and how these constraints influenced Commission decisions. We also illustrate how economics research influenced the Commission's analysis of how to structure personal accounts, ways to enhance traditional Social Security program finances, and means of measuring the extent of financial progress achieved through reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 17 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 149-172

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:2:p:149-172

Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003765888485
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Cited by:
  1. Muermann, Alexander & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Volkman, Jacqueline M., 2006. "Regret, portfolio choice, and guarantees in defined contribution schemes," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 219-229, October.
  2. Wolfram Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia Mitchell & Michael Stamos, 2007. "Money in Motion: Dynamic Portfolio Choice in Retirement," Working Papers wp152, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Horneff, Wolfram J. & Maurer, Raimond H. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Stamos, Michael Z., 2010. "Variable payout annuities and dynamic portfolio choice in retirement," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 163-183, April.
  4. Horneff, Wolfram J. & Maurer, Raimond H. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Dus, Ivica, 2008. "Following the rules: Integrating asset allocation and annuitization in retirement portfolios," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 396-408, February.
  5. Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "Optimal Financial Knowledge and Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 18669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2003. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities versus Phased Withdrawal Plans," Working Papers wp063, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities," NBER Working Papers 11271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marie-Eve Lachance & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2003. "Guaranteeing Individual Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 257-260, May.
  9. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W. R. Phillips & Andrew Au & David McCarthy, 2003. "Lifetime Earnings Variability and Retirement Wealth," Working Papers wp051, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  10. Daniel Redwood & Leandro N. Carrera & John Armstrong & Teemu Pennanen, 2013. "What level of pension contribution is needed to obtain an adequate retirement income?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54233, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Wolfram J. Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell & Ivica Dus, 2006. "Optimizing the Retirement Portfolio: Asset Allocation, Annuitization, and Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 12392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alberto Arenas de Mesa & David Bravo & Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "The Chilean Pension Reform Turns 25: Lessons From the Social Protection Survey," NBER Working Papers 12401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andrew Au & Olivia S. Mitchell & John W. R. Phillips, 2004. "Modeling Lifetime Earnings Paths: Hypothetical versus Actual Workers," Working Papers wp074, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  14. Lee Redding, 2006. "Social Security Reform and Corporate Governance," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 235-246.
  15. Jeffrey R. Brown & Arie Kapteyn & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "Decision Complexity as a Barrier to Annuitization," NBER Working Papers 19168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2006. "Social Security Replacement Rates for Alternative Earnings Benchmarks," Working Papers wp116, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  17. Ning Tang & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "The Efficiency of Pension Plan Investment Menus: Investment Choices in Defined Contribution Pension Plans," Working Papers wp176, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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