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Volume 17, Issue 3 - September 2017

News from MRRC researchers

Conference presentations

Amanda Sonnega presented at the July International Association of Gerontological Societies symposium, “Individual, Employer, and Job-Related Influences on Late Work Career Outcomes and Work Ability,” in San Francisco, CA. Her talk was titled “Job Characteristics, Occupational Transitions, and Retirement in Older Workers,” and featured her work with Brooke Helppie-McFall. Sonnega and Helppie-McFall have had two related MRRC projects, “Occupations and Work Characteristics: Effects on Retirement Expectations and Timing” (UM15-01, WP 2015-331 — with Robert Willis and Péter Hudomiet) and “Occupational Transitions at Older Ages: What Moves are People Making?” (UM16-03, WP 2016-352 — also with Robert Willis). Italo Gutierrez co-chaired the symposium.

At the June Western Economic Association meeting in San Diego, CA, Jennie Wenger presented preliminary results from her UM17-09 project with Italo Gutierrez, “Veteran Reintegration: Identifying the Long-Term Effects of Recessions on Earnings, Wealth, and Retirement Decisions.” The researchers’ working paper will be out this fall.

Journal publications

In June, Work, Aging, and Retirement published the Amanda Sonnega, Brooke Helppie-McFall, Péter Hudomiet, Robert Willis, and Gwen Fisher article, “A Comparison of Subjective and Objective Job Demands and Fit with Personal Resources as Predictors of Retirement Timing in a National U.S. Sample.” The piece draws from the 2015 MRRC project, “Occupations and Work Characteristics: Effects on Retirement Expectations and Timing,” WP 2015-331.

Stephanie Moulton, Cäzilia Loibl, and Donald Haurin’s article, “Reverse Mortgage Motivations and Outcomes: Insights from Survey Data,” was published in Cityscape, volume 19, number 1. It acknowledges MRRC funding for UM16-12, “How Home Equity Extraction and Reverse Mortgages Affect the Credit Outcomes of Senior Households,” WP 2016-351. Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Emma Aguila and Alma Vega’s MRRC working paper, “Social Security Contributions and Return Migration among Older Male Mexican Immigrants” (WP 2015-324), found an academic publishing home in the Georontologist, volume 57, issue 3.

An article coauthored by Erik Meijer and Lynn Karoly, “Representativeness of the low-income population in the Health and Retirement Study,” was published in the Journal of the Economics of Ageing, volume 9. The publication is an extension of Meijer and Karoly’s MRRC project UM11-16, which produced two working papers: “Representativeness of the Low-Income Population in the Health and Retirement Study” (WP 2013-273) and “Representativeness of the Low-Income Population in the Health and Retirement Study with Supplementary Analyses for 1991 and 1997” (WP 2014-316).

In the media

Mix a multiyear study with an abundance of interesting findings, a coordinated public relations campaign, and the normally quiet news month of August, and you get a project with a lot of press. As of this writing, the Nicole Maestas, Kathleen J. Mullen, David Powell, Till von Wachter, Jeffrey B. Wenger study, “Working Conditions in the United States: Results of the 2015 American Working Conditions Survey,” has received mentions in 22 news outlets. The study was funded by the Sloan Foundation and MRRC project UM16-08, “2015 American Working Conditions Survey: Focus on Older Versus Younger Workers,” WP 2016-362. Press highlights include an AP wire story that appeared in multiple venues, a CNN article, a short radio feature for Marketplace, and a U.S. News and World Report story. Stories also have appeared in the Irish Independent and the Irish Medical Times.

Patrick Button and David Neumark were interviewed for a U.S. News and World Report article, “10 resume mistakes that make you look old.” The researchers, along with Ian Burn and Nanneh Chehras, had a 2016 MRRC project, UM16-04, “Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Laws Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Experimental (and Nonexperimental) Evidence” (recently updated as WP 2017-360). Reporter Emily Brandon writes: “‘If you list your high school graduation year, they can get within a couple of years of your age,’ says David Neumark, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, and co-author of the report. ‘It’s not clear you should hide your age, but it’s not crazy, either.’”

A MarketWatch story on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s changes to the reverse mortgage program, which is insured by Federal Housing Administration, interviewed Donald Haurin and Stephanie Moulton via email. The article quotes the researchers: “Many reverse-mortgage borrowers ‘who end up in default on their property taxes and insurance were actually in default prior to getting the reverse mortgage.’” Haurin and Moulton had a 2016 MRRC project, “How Home Equity Extraction and Reverse Mortgages Affect the Credit Outcomes of Senior Households” WP 2016-351, UM16-12.

Researchers are encouraged to share academic publications, media interviews, and conference presentations of their MRRC-funded work. Please send announcements to

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