Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64, No. 4

(released June 2003)
by Sharmila Choudhury

Analysis of the wealth held by white, black, and Hispanic households points to differences in saving behavior, notably a disinclination on the part of minority households to invest in riskier, higher-yielding financial assets. This finding may account for some of the great disparities in wealth across racial and ethnic groups that cannot be explained by income and demographic factors.

by Barbara E. Kritzer

The Latin American model of social security reform with individual accounts has been adopted by a number of Central and Eastern European countries. That alternative to a pay-as-you-go system is sometimes advocated as a desirable model for solving problems in developed systems such as that of the United States. This article describes the Central and Eastern European systems and compares them with the Latin American systems.

by Hilary Waldron

Results of a 2001 Gallup poll indicate that the majority of users of the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) research, statistical, and policy products are satisfied with them and with the agency's performance in identifying and working on new and emerging areas of research and policy. Satisfaction varies with professional interests, length of time working with Social Security and Supplemental Security Income issues, work affiliation, and frequency of use of SSA's products.

by Leslie A. Muller

Education about retirement affects how employees use distributions from their defined contribution pension plans. Retirement education substantially increases the probability that participants age 40 and under will save a distribution but decreases the probability that college graduates and women will save one. These important differentials are concealed by estimates of the effect of retirement education on participants generally.

by Barbara E. Kritzer

Chile was the first country to replace its public pay-as you-go system with individual accounts. Since its inception in 1981, the new program has undergone a number of changes that offer workers more choices than they had before. This note describes those changes, which include an increase in the type and number of funds from which a worker may choose for an individual account, more incentives for making additional voluntary contributions, and the introduction of a separate mandatory individual account for unemployment benefits.