Summary: The conference will focus on positive and normative studies of public policies that affect retirement behavior, including Social Security, Medical Insurance, Unemployment Insurance and Disability Insurance programs. These programs constitute a large and growing share of government expenditures, and can have major impacts on macroeconomic performance as well as on individual behavior, including in particular the age of retirement and savings rates. The relative tax treatment of the retired vs. the working population can also have important economic effects, as can the incentives created by occupational pensions. The efficiency and distributional effects of these policies can depend on the proposed explanation for the frequently observed low savings rates prior to retirement and the steady drop in retirement ages in spite of increasing longevity.

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