Research and Analysis by Alicia H. Munnell

How Do Trends in Women's Labor Force Activity and Marriage Patterns Affect Social Security Replacement Rates?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by April Yanyuan Wu, Nadia S. Karamcheva, Alicia H. Munnell, and Patrick J. Purcell

Changes in the role of women in the economy and in the family have affected both the amount and the type of Social Security benefits they receive in retirement. Women's labor force participation rate increased from less than 40 percent in 1950 to more than 70 percent in 2011. Over much of the same period, marriage rates fell and divorce rates rose. This article examines how women's higher earnings and lower marriage rates have affected Social Security replacement rates over time for individuals and for households.

Social Security and Private Saving: Another Look
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42 No. 5 (released May 1979)
by Robert J. Barro, Michael Darby, Martin Feldstein, and Alicia H. Munnell

What Determines 401(k) Participation and Contributions?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64 No. 3 (released January 2003)
by Alicia H. Munnell, Annika Sundén, and Catherine Taylor

In addition to variables such as age, income, and job tenure, the length of an employee's planning horizon is a crucial factor affecting participation in and contribution to a 401(k) plan. On the plan side, the most important factors are the availability of matching contributions from the employer and the ability of employees to gain access to their funds before retirement through borrowing. Good information about the need for retirement savings and good plan design could significantly increase eligible employees' participation and contributions.