Research & Analysis by David Rajnes
This study explores the documented propensity of women to have more pessimistic expectations than men about future economic conditions in general and Social Security retirement benefits in particular. The authors present an extensive literature review covering research in psychology, economics, and an array of factors that may underlie gender differences in Social Security expectations. Then, they focus on a 2020 survey on Social Security expectations, first presenting selected detailed results, then conducting a multivariate regression analysis to test whether dispositional or socioeconomic factors exert greater influence on women's pessimistic expectations.
This study examines workers' expectations about their future Social Security benefits. The authors compile and analyze results of more than 60 individual surveys covering 1971 through 2020, with more than 130,000 respondents in total. The authors compare results over time and by demographic group to examine how Social Security expectations vary. They investigate possible explanations for the variations they find as well as for the finding that workers' expectations tend to be more pessimistic than Social Security actuarial projections.
Public disability benefit programs in the United States and other countries consider, as a condition for benefit eligibility, the claimant's ability or inability to resume or find work because of a health impairment. Many countries use an applicant's vocational factors (VFs)—age, education, and work experience—in assessing disability claims. As such, VFs play an important role in determining who qualifies for disability and related benefits. This article offers a comprehensive examination of the disability assessment processes in 11 developed countries and highlights the use and relevance of VFs in those processes.
This article examines fast-track procedures in long-term public disability programs in the United States and several other countries. Such procedures share a common goal of accelerating applicants—generally for those with severe disabilities, blindness, or facing terminal illness—through the disability determination process.
This article examines the experience of Japan's social insurance permanent disability programs and compares its key features with the Social Security Disability Insurance program operating in the United States. It analyzes the determination and appeals processes in Japan for claiming permanent social insurance disability pensions. Trends in the number of Japanese disability program beneficiaries and benefit expenditures are also discussed.
This article examines the development of Japanese voluntary employer-sponsored retirement plans with an emphasis on recent trends. Before 2001, companies in Japan offered retirement benefits as lump-sum severance payments and/or benefits from one of two types of defined benefit (DB) pension plans. One DB plan type was based on an earlier occupational pension model used in the United States. The other DB plan type allowed companies to opt out of the earnings-related portion of social security. Landmark laws passed in 2001 introduced a new generation of occupational retirement plans to employers and employees, creating three new DB plan designs and two new defined contribution types of plans. Since that time, the mix of employer-sponsored retirement plans offered in Japan has changed significantly, and overall employee coverage has declined. On balance, employer-sponsored retirement plans have remained largely DB in design.