MRRC Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 2
July 2001

Director's Corner

Interest in preserving the Social Security program has focused in recent months on the question of whether or not to initiate the use of private investment accounts, which supporters argue could strengthen Social Security by allowing investors to earn a higher rate of return in the stock market than in the current system. President Bush has named a Presidential Commission to investigate this question. While there is some information on the feasibility and dynamics of implementing a system of private accounts within the Social Security system, much remains to be learned. With that in mind, the Social Security Administration issued a call for proposals to its Retirement Research Consortium to build our base of information about private accounts. Various proposals have been submitted and are under consideration.

There are many important issues about the development of private accounts that need to be considered. One aspect is addressed in the current Issue in Brief contained in this newsletter. In general, it is important to focus on what individuals stand to gain and to lose if such a system were implemented. Now more than ever, our mandate to generate policy-driven research and to disseminate findings is paramount. Although the Presidential Commission’s report to the President is due this fall, debate will not end there. Building a solid research base for policy-making will continue to be a sound investment in the nation’s future.

Acting Director, MRRC

Regular Features:

Issue in Brief
   Cognition and
   Wealth: The
   Importance of
   The Importance
   of Social
   Security Benefits
Inside This Issue:

News Notes
   3rd Annual RRC
   Mitchell Named
   to Presidential
   Lillard PSID
   Files Now

Social Security Simulator now Available On-line

   MRRC researchers, Mike Anderson, Shripad Tuljapurkar, and Ron Lee have developed a new program called S4. S4, short for Stochastic Social Security Simulator, is an online simulation of the Social Security trust fund, which allows the user to adjust tax rates, retirement ages, equities investment and other parameters to look at the effects of these changes on the trust fund. The March issue of the MRRC newsletter featured a study by these researchers that illustrates how this program can be used. These files can be accessed through the Data link on the MRRC website at

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