Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Danny Cohen Humanities and Social Science

Can State Legislation Encourage Retirement Preparedness in Private Employees?

More so than in other developed countries, United States adults are unprepared for retirement. Stagnating wages and the gradual death of defined benefit pensions in the private sector are largely responsible, as private employees are unlikely to have a guaranteed income stream in retirement beyond Social Security. These employees, however, often have access to defined contribution pensions (like 401(k)s) that allow them to contribute their own earnings to tax-advantaged accounts that can be accessed in retirement.
In my study, I analyze the impact of state legislation on private employees decisions regarding their defined contribution pensions. Based on prevailing literature that has demonstrated the effectiveness of federal legislation, I hypothesize that state policy will have a pronounced impact on the investment habits of private employees. Using IRS pension data and macroeconomic information from the Federal Reserve, I hope to demonstrate that states have an important legislative role to play in strengthening retirement prospects for American employees.

Message To Sponsor

My SURF experience has cemented my desire to pursue a research-based career. I loved watching my own ideas and methodologies come to fruition, producing compelling results that changed how I see my field of study. My wonderful small group would have become close friends if we had been given the opportunity to meet in person, but even via Zoom I felt close to them and their research. My SURF research advisor has become a lasting academic resource, having helped me not only with my SURF research but with other personal academic goals. SURF has given me the desire to continue pursuing my own research and the knowledge that wherever I go I will be able to find supporters and build my network.
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Major: Economics,Data Science
Mentor: Danny Yagan
Sponsor: Anonymous Donor
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