Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #252--September 2, 2004


CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:


I. Data:

1. USDA ERS: The US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service has released "Final 2004 County Typology Codes (August 2004, Microsoft Excel format, data layout information is available in the spreadsheet)."To provide policy-relevant information about diverse county conditions to policymakers, public officials, and researchers, ERS has developed a new set of county-level typology codes that captures differences in economic and social characteristics. This release revises the preliminary codes released in May 2004. The 2004 County Typology Codes were developed for all 3,141 counties, county equivalents, and independent cities in the United States. Their primary function is to help differentiate among non-metro counties, but metro counties are also coded to facilitate comparisons. The 2004 County Typology codes classify all U.S. counties according to six non-overlapping categories of economic dependence and seven overlapping categories of policy-relevant themes. The economic types include farming, mining, manufacturing, services, Federal/State government, and unspecialized counties. The policy types include housing stress, low-education, low-employment, persistent poverty, population loss, non-metro recreation, and retirement destination.

2. NCHS:

A. "Bridged-race Vintage 2003 postcensal population estimates for July 1, 2000 - July 1, 2003, by year, county, single-year of age, bridged-race, Hispanic origin, and sex," (US National Center for Health Statistics, August 2004, .zip compressed or uncompressed ASCII format, with documentation in Microsoft Word format). "The population estimates in the postcensal series are based on the April 1, 2000, resident population as enumerated by the U.S. Census Bureau. They result from bridging the 31 race categories used in Census 2000, as specified in the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards for the collection of data on race and ethnicity, to the four race groups specified under the 1977 OMB standards. The bridged-race postcensal estimates were prepared by the Population Estimates Program of the U.S. Census Bureau under a collaborative agreement with NCHS."

B. "Selected Presentations from the NCHS 2004 Data Users Conference," (US National Center for Health Statistics, Microsoft Powerpoint format).

3. MEPS: "MEPS HC-066: 2002 Person Round Plan Public Use File," (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, August 2004, documentation in .pdf format with questionnaires in HTML format, with SAS and SPSS programming statements in HTML format, interactive codebook in ASP format, data in ASCII or SAS transport format, .zip or .exe auto decompression). "This MEPS public use release is one in a series of data releases drawn from the 2002 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Household Component (HC). This release contains the Person Round Plan (PRPL) file for 2002. This file contains records for persons insured through private establishments providing hospital/physician, Medigap, dental, vision or prescription medication coverage and includes variables pertaining to managed care and experiences with plans. These are designed to facilitate research on the sometimes complex and dynamic relationships between consumers and their private insurance. Released as an ASCII file with SAS and SPSS programming statements, and in SAS Transport format, the PRPL file is not a person-level file and linking it to a MEPS full year person-level file (e.g., HC-062 for year 2002) requires users making analytic decisions based on understanding the complexity of the PRPL file."


A. "HRS/AHEAD Second Home Ownership and Equity Corrections (Version 1.0)," (August 31, 2004).

B. "Re-release; Distribution Files Reformatted -- 1992 HRS (Final, Version 2.0)," (September 1, 2004).

C. "Re-release; Distribution Files Reformatted -- 1994 HRS (Final, Version 2.0)," (September 1, 2004)


II. Reports and articles:

5. MEPS REPORT: "Health Care in Urban and Rural Areas, Combined Years 1998-2000," by Sharon L. Larson, Steven R. Machlin, Alice Nixon, and Marc Zodet (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Chartbook #13, July 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 39p.). "This chartbook examines the differences in health care access, use, and expenses between urban and rural areas. Counties are classified along the urban-rural continuum according to whether they are metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and, if not, their proximity to an MSA. An MSA is a large population nucleus with a high degree of economic and social interaction. The categories along the continuum are metro (counties in an MSA), near-metro, near-rural, and rural. The last category includes only the most rural areas in the Nation, home to about 3.2 million Americans."


A. "Medical and retirement plan coverage: exploring the decline in recent years," by William J. Wiatrowski (US Bureau of Labor Statistics _Monthly Labor Review_, Vol. 127, No, 8, August 2004, .pdf format, p. 29-36).

B. "Trends in job demands among older workers, 1992-2002," by Richard W. Johnson (US Bureau of Labor Statistics _Monthly Labor Review_, Vol. 127, No, 7, July 2004, .pdf format, p. 48-56).


A. "CMS Projects 2.9 Percent Increase in Medicare Rural Hospice Provider Payment Rates," (August 26, 2004).

B. "CMS Strengthens Efforts to Reduce Fraud and Abuse in Medicare, Medicaid," (August 27, 2004).

C. "CMS Program Integrity Initiative," (August 27, 2004).

8. FDA PROPOSED RULE: "Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Hospital Bed System Dimensional Guidance to Reduce Entrapment," (US Food and Drug Administration, August 30, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, 32p.). Note: "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in partnership with representatives from the medical bed industry, national health care organizations, patient advocacy groups, and other federal agencies (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Veterans Administration), have formed a work group, The Hospital Bed Safety Workgroup (HBSW). Its goal is to improve the safety of hospital beds for patients who are most vulnerable to the risk of side rail entrapment."

Scroll down to "Draft Guidance".

Press Release:


A. "Independent living in later life," by Jane Parry, Sandra Vegeris, Maria Hudson, Helen Barnes and Rebecca Taylor (DWP Research Report No. 216, August 2004, .pdf format, 142p.).


This report presents the findings from a qualitative study designed to explore older people's concepts of independence. It also looks at how their service needs and their behaviour in approaching services impacts on their ability to live independently. In-depth interviews were undertaken with pensioners with a range of health, financial and social support status and with frontline staff from statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations.

B. "Link-Age: developing networks of services for older people," (DWP, August 2004, .pdf format, 39p.). Note: "The publication, 'Link-Age: developing networks of services for older people', outlines the steps being taken to meet the 2001 manifesto commitment to develop 'third age services'. The strategy, published in this document, joins up services across and beyond government and will simplify how people are able to access the services and help they need. The document is published by Department for Work and Pensions in collaboration with the Local Government Association and other government departments."

10. NATSEM (UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA) REPORT: "Population Ageing, the Economic Outlook, Policy Options and Your Retirement," by Ann Harding (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, A presentation made to the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers Association and Association of Independent Retirees Seminar on "Surviving in Retirement", Canberra, .pdf format, 19p.).

11. _NATURE NEUROSCIENCE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "A{beta} is targeted to the vasculature in a mouse model of hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis," by Martin C. Herzig, David T. Winkler, Patrick Burgermeister, Michelle Pfeifer, Esther Kohler, Stephen D. Schmidt, Simone Danner, Dorothee Abramowski, Christine Stürchler-Pierrat, Kurt Bürki, Sjoerd G. van Duinen, Marion L. C. Maat-Schieman, Matthias Staufenbiel, Paul M. Mathews, and Mathias Jucker (_Nature Neuroscience_, Vol. 7, No. 9, September 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 954-960).

12. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Aging reduces neural specialization in ventral visual cortex," by Denise C. Park, Thad A. Polk, Rob Park, Meredith Minear, Anna Savage, and Mason R. Smith (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 35, August 31, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 13091-13095).

13. _NATURE MEDICINE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Reticulon family members modulate BACE1 activity and amyloid-{beta} peptide generation," by Wanxia He, Yifeng Lu, Isam Qahwash, Xiang-You Hu, Ansi Chang and Riqiang Yan (_Nature Medicine_, Vol. 10, No. 9, September 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 959-965).


A. "Coming to Grips With Bone Loss," by Jean Marx (_Science_, Vol. 305, No. 5689, September 3, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1420-1422).

B. "Aging in Rhesus Monkeys: Relevance to Human Health Interventions," by George S. Roth, Julie A. Mattison, Mary Ann Ottinger, Mark E. Chachich, Mark A. Lane, and Donald K. Ingram (_Science_, Vol. 305, No. 5689, September 3, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1423-1426).

C. "What Can Progeroid Syndromes Tell Us About Human Aging?" by David Kipling, Terence Davis, Elizabeth L. Ostler, and Richard G. A. Faragher (_Science_, Vol. 305, No. 5689, September 3, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1426-1431).


A. "Tamoxifen with or without Breast Irradiation in Women 50 Years of Age or Older with Early Breast Cancer," by Anthony W. Fyles, David R. McCready, Lee A. Manchul, Maureen E. Trudeau, Patricia Merante, Melania Pintilie, Lorna M. Weir, and Ivo A. Olivotto (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 351, No. 10, September 2, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 963-970).

B. "Lumpectomy plus Tamoxifen with or without Irradiation in Women 70 Years of Age or Older with Early Breast Cancer," by Kevin S. Hughes, Lauren A. Schnaper, Donald Berry, Constance Cirrincione, Beryl McCormick, Brenda Shank, Judith Wheeler, Lorraine A. Champion, Thomas J. Smith, Barbara L. Smith, Charles Shapiro, Hyman B. Muss, Eric Winer, Clifford Hudis, William Wood, David Sugarbaker, I. Craig Henderson, and Larry Norton (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 351, No. 10, September 2, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 971-977).


A. "Influence of personal characteristics of individual women on sensitivity and specificity of mammography in the Million Women Study: cohort study," by Emily Banks, Gillian Reeves, Valerie Beral, Diana Bull, Barbara Crossley, Moya Simmonds, Elizabeth Hilton, Stephen Bailey, Nigel Barrett, Peter Briers, Ruth English, Alan Jackson, Elizabeth Kutt, Janet Lavelle, Linda Rockall, Matthew G. Wallis, Mary Wilson, and Julietta Patnick (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 329, No. 7461, August 28, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 477-479).

B. "Using rapid-cycle quality improvement methodology to reduce feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia: before and after study," by Carol Monteleoni and Elizabeth Clark (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 329, No. 7461, August 28, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 491-494).

17. MEDSCAPE RESOURCES: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles. Medscape has updated its Palliative Care Resource Center as of August 31, 2004.

18. The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ shows, for Aug. 17, 2004 to Aug. 31, 2004, are now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

Aug. 17, 2004--Moms Going Back to Work
Aug. 31, 2004--Women's Health


III. Working Papers:

19. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN CENTER FOR DEMOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY: "Health Status in a Sample of Elderly Mexicans," by Alberto Palloni, Beth Soldo, Rebecca Wong, and Mary McEniry (WP 2003-03, 2004, .pdf format, 39p.).


Context. We know precious little about adult health in developing countries in general and Latin America in particular. We know even less about the health conditions of elderly individuals. Since Mexico and many other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region are and will continue to experience a very rapid process of aging, it is important to generate pertinent information and analyze it promptly to identify key features that could be used to formulate and design health policies. This is particularly useful in Mexico, and other countries of the region, which have embarked in sweeping reforms of the health sector.

Objective. We aim to investigate the health profile of elderly Mexicans aged 50 and over. We are guided by two overarching concerns. First, does the health profile of elderly Mexicans reveal any special features, distinct from what one would expect from extant research on elderly individuals? Second, is there any evidence of relations between current health status and conditions to which these individuals were subject early during their childhood?

Design, setting and population. MHAS (Mexican Health and Aging Study) is a two-wave panel of a nationally representative sample of the non-institutionalized elderly Mexican population (50 and over) and their surviving spouses. The sample included approximately 9,806 target individuals and 5,424 spouses. The rate of response for targets was 89.2% and for spouses 97.2%. The interviews for the first panel on which we focus in this paper took place during 2001 and lasted about 1.5 hours. They included modules on demographic characteristics, physical and mental health, limited marital and migration history, early childhood characteristics, family and kin, intergenerational transfers and pension, income and assets. Limited anthropometry (height, weight, knee height, waist and hip circumference) and mobility (one leg stand) was obtained for 20% of the sample.

Main outcome measures. The main outcome measures obtained by MHAS were self-reported health, functional limitations (Activities of Daily Living [ADLs] and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living [IADLs]), anthropometric measures (height, weight, knee height, waist and hip circumference) as well as self-reported chronic conditions.

Results. (a) Age patterns by self-reported health behave as expected: the proportion reporting in bad health increases by age, and females are more likely than males to report themselves in bad health; (b) Similarly, the proportion reporting at least one ADL or at least one IADL increases sharply with age, and females are more likely than males to report at least one ADL (or IADL); (c) Of all the chronic conditions examined the most salient is self-reported diabetes. Even though we know that self-reports result in underestimates of diabetes prevalence, the observed prevalence is very high for both males and females but more so for females. The same patterns are observed for obesity; (d) Comparisons with the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the U.S. reveal that elderly in Mexico are particularly disadvantaged in terms of self reported health and IADL but not with regard to ADL. However, the most salient contrast is, once again, the one that emerges with diabetes and obesity: MHAS individuals display a higher propensity of being diabetic and obese; (e) Relations between diabetes and obesity, on the one hand, and early conditions reflected in anthropometry and retrospective reports, on the other, are not very strong but the evidence from the data is indicative of potentially important connections.

Conclusions. Preliminary findings from MHAS reveal a mixed picture. On the one hand we find that self reports of health status, ADL and IADL are in line with expectations and deviate only weakly, for example, from patterns among U.S. elderly. On the other hand we find high prevalence of diabetes and obesity, higher than among elderly in HRS, but only partial support to establish a connection between these conditions and early childhood characteristics.

20. NBER:

A. "Explaining the Evolution of Pension Structure and Job Tenure," by Leora Friedberg and Michael Owyang (National Bureau of Economic Research, w10714, August 2004, .pdf format, 40p.).


Current and expected job tenure have fallen significantly over the last two decades. Over the same period, traditional defined benefit pensions, designed to reward long tenure, have become steadily less common. This paper uses a contract-theoretic matching model with moral hazard to explain changes in pension structure and job tenure. In our model, a decline in the value of existing jobs relative to new jobs reduces expected match duration and thus the appeal of DB pensions. We show that this explanation is consistent with observed trends and suggests an additional consequence of technological change that has not been closely studied.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address for full text.

B. "How Much Might Universal Health Insurance Reduce Socioeconomic Disparities in Health? A Comparison of the US and Canada," by Sandra L. Decker and Dahlia K. Remler (National Bureau of Economic Research, w10715, August 2004, .pdf format, 34p.).


A strong association between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and worse health-- the SES-health gradient-- has been documented in many countries, but little work has compared the size of the gradient across countries. We compare the size of the income gradient in self-reported health in the US and Canada. We find that being below median income raises the likelihood that a middle aged person is in poor or fair health by about 15 percentage points in the U.S., compared to less than 8 percentage points in Canada. We also find that the 7 percentage point gradient difference between the two countries is reduced by about 4 percentage points after age 65, the age at which the virtually all U.S. citizens receive basic health insurance through Medicare. Income disparities in the probability that an individual lacks a usual source of care are also significantly larger in the US than in Canada before the age of 65, but about the same after 65. Our results are therefore consistent with the availability of universal health insurance in the U.S, or at least some other difference that occurs around the age of 65 in one country but not the other, narrowing SES differences in health between the US and Canada.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address for full text.


A. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," by Olivia S. Mitchell and Cassio Turra (MRRC WP 2004-086, July 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).


We propose to evaluate whether an insurer could provide a two-part annuity offering regular income benefits as long as the purchaser is healthy, and a higher disability benefit in the event of poor health. Since health is a multidimensional concept, we will evaluate a range of health indicators and examine how health status at a baseline age influences subsequent mortality risk at later ages. Using Health and Retirement Study data, we will assess the money's worth of such an annuity, relevant to the question of how participants in individual pension accounts might perceive the annuitization of assets accumulated for retirement.

B. "Back to Work: Trends in Post-Retirement Employment," by Nichole Maestas (MRRC WP 2004-085, July 2004, .pdf format, 30p.).


Retirement is often modeled as an absorbing state. But in fact, many people return to paid work after they retire - that is, they unretire. Despite an extensive literature on retirement behavior, little is known about unretirement. An individual might go back to work out of economic necessity or for non-pecuniary reasons. For example, people might return to work in order to maintain consumption if they suffer financial shocks or if they failed to plan well. Others might return to work simply because they do not enjoy retirement as much as they expected. From the standpoint of policy interest, whether unretirement is beneficial or detrimental for retirees depends on why people go back to work. In this project, I propose to establish a basic understanding of post-retirement labor supply. I will use the HRS to evaluate how common unretirement is and explore what specific features of the household economic environment are correlated with unretirement. In addition, I will document trends over time using successive panels of the SIPP.

C. "Global Aging: Issues, Answers, More Questions," by Axel Börsch-Supan (MRRC WP 2004-084, June 2004, .pdf format, 51p.).


Global aging will be a major determinant of long run economic development in industrial and developing countries. The extent of the demographic changes is dramatic and will deeply affect future labor, financial and goods markets. The expected strain on public budgets and especially social security has already received prominent attention, but the aging poses many other economic challenges that threaten productivity and growth if they remain unaddressed.

While aging is global, there are marked differences in the speed and the extent of the aging processes across countries. These differences are likely to generate different growth paths and change the international pecking order, e.g. within the G8 countries. Due to the globalization of labor, financial and goods markets, however, these differential demographic developments will also precipitate trade and factor movements. Exploiting these movements offers large chances during the aging process.

The purpose of this paper is to review the most important economic chances and challenges due to global aging. It summarizes what we know and identifies research areas where it is important to know more.

D. "How To Evaluate the Effects of Social Security Policies on Retirement and Saving When Firm Policies Affect the Opportunities Facing Older Individuals," by Alan L. Gustman and Thomas L. Steinmeier (MRRC WP 2004-078, June 2004, .pdf format, 38p.).


This project will examine the effects on retirement and saving of firm side factors, including minimum hours constraints, layoffs, job requirements, informal pressures to retire, job accommodations, retirement windows, and pension rules affecting payment when partially employed. Reduced form and dynamic, structural models jointly explaining retirement and saving will be estimated with and without firm-side factors, and biases in models that ignore them will be examined. In models incorporating firm-side factors, we will examine the effects of Social Security policies, including the effects of age of early benefit acceptance, the impact of voluntary accounts and crediting of earnings between spouses.


A. "Reform Model Two of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security: Distributional Outcomes Under Different Economic and Behavioral Assumptions," by Melissa M. Favreault, Joshua H. Goldwyn, Karen E. Smith, Lawrence H. Thompson, Cori E. Uccello, and Sheila R. Zedlewski (WP 2004-20, August 2004, .pdf format, 53p.).


This project uses dynamic microanalytic simulation techniques to explore the distributional consequences of Plan 2 of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. This plan includes a voluntary personal account that would be "carved out" of currently-scheduled benefit contributions, a new minimum benefit, and an increase in widow(er)s benefits. It also shifts the current wage-indexed initial benefit formula to a price-indexed formula to address most of the current system's long-term solvency problem. The analysis begins by adopting the assumptions of the Office of the Chief Actuary (OCACT) regarding portfolio allocation, rates of return, administrative costs, and mandatory annuitization of personal account balances to develop a baseline of Model 2. We compare the distributional results with current-law promised benefits and a current- law scenario adjusted to match the revenues we estimate are required to fund the OCACT baseline in 2050 exclusive of the private account provisions. Subsequently, we test the sensitivity of our baseline estimates to different assumptions about participation in personal accounts, investment patterns, administrative costs, variation in market returns across the life cycle, and rates of return on investments. To simulate likely participation patterns in voluntary private accounts and participants' portfolio allocation choices, we estimate models using recent data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. The results from our core and sensitivity analyses bracket the likely outcomes of the reform plan and demonstrate how this type of reform might affect subgroups of the future elderly population.

B. "Deferring Income in Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: The Dynamics of Participant Contributions," by Karen E. Smith, Richard W. Johnson, and Leslie A. Muller (WP 2004-21, August 2004, .pdf format, 21p.).


With the growth in defined contribution retirement plans, retirement income security for many workers increasingly depends on their ability and willingness to defer current consumption and save for their old age. This study describes contributions to employer-sponsored retirement accounts, using newly available longitudinal data that combine administrative earnings records with survey data. The results reveal a fair amount of individual variability in contribution rates over time. However, with the exception of health problems, potential negative shocks to income and increases in current consumption needs do not appear to lead workers to curtail their contributions. Instead, workers appear to raise their contribution rates after they have achieved key milestones in the life course, such as the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.

C. "Providing Guarantees in Social Security," by Karen E. Smith, C. Eugene Steuerle, and Pablo Montagnes (WP 2004-22, August 2004, .pdf format, 18p.).


Some Social Security reforms would provide guarantees that individuals would not receive less under a reformed system than would be provided by current law. However, the 'current law' benefit formula increases benefits when wages rise. Any reform successfully adding to economic growth, therefore, would affect those promised levels of benefits, as well as revenues and the interest rates that determine what could be earned and paid out of individual accounts. This paper concludes that guarantees could add significantly to the costs of Social Security, reduce any reduction in budget imbalance achieved through other parts of a reform, and add to taxes, direct or implicit, that must be paid to cover those costs. Stock and bond market variation, as well as variation in returns on individual accounts, also add to costs when reform contains a guarantee, as government bears mainly downside risks. A variety of examples are provided for one generic type of reform.

23. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN POPULATION STUDIES CENTER: "Gender and Family Support for Older Adults in Bangladesh," by Sharon Ghuman and Mary Beth Ofstedal (PSC Research Report 04-563, August 2004, .pdf format, 18p.).


We examine the nature of economic and social support from children and siblings for a sample of individuals age 50 and above collected in Matlab, Bangladesh. We consider coresidence, exchanges of money, goods or services, childcare, and social visits, and examine whether the gender of the support recipient and the support provider conditions the patterns of exchanges. One half to two thirds of older adults live with a married child or receive assistance from a non-coresident child. Siblings are less likely to provide assistance and, on average, give lower amounts than children. Sons are considerably more likely than daughters to live with or adjacent to parents, or provide economic aid. But daughters are not uninvolved in exchanges with parents, and channel resources to mothers more than fathers. There is no evidence that older women are at a disadvantage in terms of coresidence, receipt of support from children or siblings, or frequent contact with children compared to men. But they are less likely to seek contact with the larger community. Older persons who do not live with children have regular contact with and receive assistance from them. Of the few who are childless, most live with family members or live alone but receive regular visits from children or relatives. We also compare the findings from Bangladesh with other East and Southeast Asian contexts.

For either report, click on the PDF icon to the upper right of the abstract for link to full text.


A. "Profitable Prudence: The Case for Public Employer Defined Benefit Plans," by Gary Anderson and Keith Brainard (PRC WP 2004-6, 2004, .pdf format, 24p.).


Defined benefit plans remain the predominant form of retirement benefit for employees of state and local governments in the United States, which employ more than 10 percent of the nation's workforce. This chapter describes the divergence between pensions in private industry, where the focus has shifted sharply toward defined contribution plans, and in the public sector, where defined benefit plans continue to dominate. One reason is that public employers have the ongoing responsibility of attracting and retaining a large workforce whose diversity is unmatched in private industry. We also offer an economic analysis of public plans, focusing on the value-added to state economies from investment returns which are often superior to those generated by defined contribution plans.

B. "Educating Pension Plan Participants," by William J. Arnone (PRC WP 2004-7, 2004, .pdf format, 14p.).


Educational programs are often used by large employers to help employees make informed decisions in connection with their retirement programs. This chapter evaluates the range of programs offered, their scope, and objectives. We also explore the evidence that these programs increase the efficacy of retirement savings.

C. "Changes in Accounting Practices Will Drive Pension Paradigm Shift," by Douglas Fore (PRC WP 2004-8, 2004, .pdf format, 24p.).


Recent events have prompted a growing awareness of the need for internationally comparable pension accounting standards. This chapter examines recent and anticipated changes in worldwide accounting practices, and our focus is on the issue of whether pension accounting standards are consistent with the economics of pension finance. We examine trends toward convergence and place particular emphasis on the movement to fair value accounting standards. We also analyze potential impacts of likely accounting changes and transition rules on pension funding in the US and other countries.

D. "Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Where is Pension Policy Headed?" by James A. Klein (PRC WP 2004-9, 2004, .pdf format, 17p.).


Since the passage of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, public policy has continuously shaped the trajectory of the US retirement system. It is clear that the policy process will continue to be key in the future reinvention of the retirement paradigm. Our study sets forth four perspectives on strengths and weaknesses of the current retirement system, with the goal of helping shape an environment more conducive to a vibrant, effective, and easily administered retirement system.

E. "Reality Testing for Pension Reform," by Pamela Perun and C. Eugene Steuerle (PRC WP 2004-10, 2004, .pdf format, 44p.).


The US private pension system is at a crossroads. Its future direction is now under intense scrutiny by Congress, which has recently considered two very different proposals for change, each containing elements likely to be on the national agenda for some time. One approach embodies a traditional approach to pension reform, with an omnibus statute that tinkers with almost every aspect of the private pension system to make incremental changes. A second seeks to bring radical change and simplification, with sweeping consolidation of the number and types of defined contribution plans. This chapter evaluates these two approaches, one for incremental change, the other for structural reform, and then considers an alternative. Our analysis focuses on the nuts-and-bolts of the private pension system, the plans that comprise it, and the rules that govern them that have accumulated over the past 60 years. Our thesis is that an analysis of the architecture and machinery of the private pension system can teach us a great deal about how to redesign the private pension system to meet retirement income challenges to come.

F. "Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends," by Patrick Purcell (PRC WP 2004-11, 2004, .pdf format, 25p.).


The number of people retiring each year affects the size of the labor force, which has a direct impact on the economy's capacity to produce goods and services. Other things equal, fewer retirements in any given year would result in a greater supply of experienced workers available to employers and fewer people relying on savings, pensions, and social security as their main sources of income. Consequently, changes in the age profile of the population or the average age at which people retire have implications for both national income and the size and composition of the federal budget. This chapter describes the aging of the US population and summarizing historical data older workers' labor force participation. Next, we turn to information on older persons' employment and receipt of pension income, which are discussed in the context information on the proportion of workers who claim retired-worker benefits before the full retirement age (65 years and 4 months for people who reach age 65 in 2004). A final section discusses recent proposals to promote phased retirement through amendments to sections of the Internal Revenue Code that govern the taxation of pension income.

G. "The Future of Pension Plan Design," by David McCarthy (PRC WP 2004-12, 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).


In the thirty years since the introduction of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, tremendous changes have taken place in the US private pension environment. Traditional defined benefit pension plans have been replaced with newer defined contribution-type arrangements. As the change matures, it is becoming clear that the problem of optimal pension scheme design has not been solved. On the contrary, much work remains to ensure that occupational pension schemes meet the needs of both employers and employees. Traditionally, it has been difficult to evaluate different pension scheme designs from an economic point of view. This is because there was no theory which modeled how firms and workers actually valued their pensions: realistic pension contracts were too complex for traditional theoretical economic models. The massive reduction in the cost of computing power has changed this, so it is now possible to assess alternative pension designs using a coherent theoretical framework. This chapter develops such a framework and presents some illustrative results.

25. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF POPULATION RESEARCH: "Comparative Analysis of Measurement Approaches for Physiological Dysregulation in an Older Population," by Christopher L. Seplaki, Noreen Goldman, and Dana Glei, and Maxine Weinstein (WP 2004-04, 2004, .pdf format, 25p.).


A growing body of evidence suggests that the cumulative experience of emotional challenges and stressful events over the life-course may take a significant physiological toll, referred to as allostatic load, on multiple interrelated systems of the body. Multiple summary measures of these effects have been proposed in the literature, but there is no systematic evaluation of alternative measurements. We use data from a population-based sample of older Taiwanese to compare the explanatory power and predictive performance of several measures of allostatic load for diverse health outcomes. We find that, although modest, the various assumptions made when constructing measures of allostatic load do have effects that should be considered carefully. Our findings suggest development of measures that preserve the continuous properties of the component biological measurements and underscore the importance of nonlinear effects suggested in previous research. These fundamental insights are of use to applied researchers in the field currently in search of useful empirical formulations of allostatic load and to those who are focused on the development of improved measurement strategies.


IV. Journal Tables of Contents (check your library for availability):

26. American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 94, No. 9, September 1, 2004).

27. The Gerontologist (Vol. 44, No. 4, August 1, 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

28. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Vol. 59, No. 8, August 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.


29. INGENTA Tables of Contents: INGENTA provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "browse by publication"
C. Click the "fax/ariel" radio button, type the Journal Name in the "by words in the title" search box and click "search".
D. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

International Journal of Ageing and Human Development (Vol. 58, No. 4, 2004).

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Vol. 52, No. 9, 2004).

Medical Care Research and Review (Vol. 61, Supp. No. 1, 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and these issues.


30. AMEDEO MEDICAL LITERATURE: Note: "AMEDEO has been created to serve the needs of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, other members of the health professions, and patients and their friends. They can easily access timely, relevant information within their respective fields... All AMEDEO services are free of charge. This policy was made possible thanks to generous unrestricted educational grants provided by AMGEN, Berlex, Eisai, Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Schering AG."

A. Osteoporosis: Literature for the week of September 1, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of September 1, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of September 1, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of September 1, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:

31. NIH:

A. "Aging Through the Life Span: Longitudinal Data Analyses," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, RFA-AG-05-004, August 25, 2004).

B. "Developing Interventions for Multiple Morbidities," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, RFA-AG-05-007, August 27, 2004).


VI. Legislation Information Updates:

32. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH HEARING TRANSCRIPT: "MEDPAC Report on Medicare Payment Policies," a hearing held March 6, 2003 (Serial No. 108-14, ASCII text and .pdf format, 103p.).

Scroll down to or "find in page" "108-14" (without the quotes".


VII. Websites of Interest:

33. KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION: "The Kaiser Family Foundation's State Health Facts Online now includes the latest available data on prescription drug use and spending for all 50 states and the U.S. The new 2003 data include the number of retail prescriptions filled, retail prescriptions filled per capita, the average price of prescriptions, and total spending on retail prescriptions for each state. The percent change from 2002 to 2003 for these indicators is also included."




Charlie Fiss
Information Manager
Center for Demography and Ecology and
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
Rm. 4470A Social Science Bldg
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
Phone: (608) 265-9240
Fax: (608) 262-8400