The Boettner Center

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania established the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security to support scholarly research, teaching, and outreach on global aging, successful retirement, and public and private pensions. The center also will disseminate research findings to international audiences of academics and policy-makers as well as support data development efforts at the University of Pennsylvania. Olivia S. Mitchell, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor, is Boettner Center Director. Focuses of the Center include:

Research on Global Aging

Affiliates of the center focus on challenges and opportunities associated with global aging and retirement. Researchers will evaluate means to strengthen global retirement income systems and ways to address economic and social problems in developing and developed countries.

Research on Successful Retirement

The center encourages research on saving behavior, how/why retirees invest well or poorly, and how they manage their resources during retirement. Projects may evaluate links between older peoples’ psychological and physical conditions as theses influence retirement patterns and wellbeing, as well as interactions between physical and mental health, and successful retirement. Affiliates concerned with retirement security and financial gerontology will develop models to predict and enhance financial security among the elderly.

Research on Retirement Income Security

The center supports projects on public and private pensions, extending the work of the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School. Projects will include research on retirement plan guarantees, government social insurance programs including disability insurance, participant-directed pensions and the impact of administrative costs, investment options in retirement, and regulation and supervision of annuity markets in the context of retirement systems. Projects also will evaluate the optimal mix between public and private retirement income programs.

Support for Data Projects

The center facilitates access to research and data critical to the investigation of retirement security in the U.S. and around the world.

Research Projects: Pilot Projects

  • PI: Kathryn Jedrziewski
    Pilot Title: Is Physical Activity a Viable Intervention to Lower the Risk of Dementia?
  • PI: Olivia S. Mitchell
    Pilot Title: Life Cycle Funds and 401(k) Portfolio Selection
  • PI: Jalpa Doshi
    Pilot Title: Impact of Prescription Copayments on Antidepressant Use and Adherence in Dual Eligibles: Implications for Medicare Part D
  • PI: Alexander Muermann
    Pilot Title: Hidden Regret and Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets
  • PI: Olivia S. Mitchell
    Pilot Title: Contribution Patterns Under the Chilean Retirement Survey
  • PI: Stephen Shore
    Pilot Title: For Better, For Worse: Marriage and the Business Cycle
  • PI: Petra Todd
    Pilot Title: Decision-making in the Chilean Pension Market
  • PI: Robert F. Boruch & Co-PI: Anca N. Mataoanu
    Pilot Title: Understanding International Best Practice in Pension Regulation and Supervision
  • PI: Irma Elo
    Pilot Title: Socioeconomic Differentials in Mortality in Finland and the United States: The role of income and education
  • PI: John Knowles & Co-PI: Petra Todd
    Pilot Title: Savings and Health Behavior over the Lifecycle and across Generations
  • PI: Iliana Kohler & Co-PI: Hans-Peter Kohler
    Pilot Title: Health Disparities in the Older Population of the US and Mexico
  • PI: Daniel Polsky
    Pilot Title: Health insurance, health, and labor force participation among elderly Mexicans
  • PI: Jose-Victor Rios-Rull
    Pilot Title: The Living Arrangements of the Elderly Widows
  • PI: Herbert L. Smith
    Pilot Title: Aging of Local Populations: A Preliminary Investigation


Olivia S. Mitchell  – International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor; Professor of Insurance/Risk Management and Business Economics/Public Policy; Executive Director of the Pension Research Council; Director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research, all at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Advisory Board

Jere R. Behrman – William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and of Sociology; Research Associate, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Irma T. Elo – Professor of Sociology; Department of Sociology & Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Kent Smetters – Boettner Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA