RESEARCH

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Pandemics are political, social, and health crises. This course examines the economic policy and microeconomics surrounding the economic crisis spurned by the novel-coronavirus. Explore social and economic issues which policy making would need to address in the midst of an unfolding pandemic recession. 

Working paper— Workers at all earnings levels would benefit from expanding Social Security. SCEPA proposes defaulting workers into “Catch-Up” contributions, where— starting at age 50— they would contribute an additional 3.1% of their salary. The increase in alternative work arrangements among older workers is due to low wages stemming from older workers' decreased bargaining power. 

Brief— Social Security benefits are progressive and reduce the unequal distribution of retirement wealth generated by a broken employer-based retirement systemSocial Security benefits are progressive and reduce the unequal distribution of retirement wealth generated by a broken employer-based retirement system.

Working paper— Social Security benefits are progressive and reduce the unequal distribution of retirement wealth generated by a broken employer-based retirement systeThe Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can cause wage declines for workers who do not receive the tax credit. 

Workers in low-wage households are more likely to experience economic shocks and to withdraw from their retirement accounts, exacerbating pre-existing inequalities in the retirement savings system.

Working paper— This study evaluates a Social Security "Catch-Up" contribution program, a proposal which would help mid-career workers narrow the gap between what they need in retirement and their projected retirement wealth. 

Working paper— Social Security benefits are progressive and reduce the unequal distribution of retirement wealth generated by a broken employer-based retirement system. This study identifies what is driving the loss of bargaining power suppressing older workers' wages. 

ReLab's study of retirement wealth inequality between 1992 and 2010 finds that the retirement system is failing everyone, with those at the bottom suffering the most. This article has been accepted for publication in a revised form in the journal of Pension Economics and Finance. Our corresponding policy note, "Extreme Inequality is Persistent, Even Among Those With Similar Earnings," discusses policies to address the inequalities baked into our system.