The Evolution of Wealth Inequality Over the Lifecycle

Faculty Member: Cormac O'Dea

Proposal Description:

This project aims to better understand the reasons for inequality in wealth holdings, with a focus the decision-making of those approaching, and in, retirement. This project covers i) an evaluation of the role of cognitive ability in individuals’ economic decisions (for example, their labor supply, their saving and their spending), ii) an investigation of the implications of uncertainty around the future of Social Security for household decision-making and iii) the role of genetic influences in the determination of savings behavior. The ultimate objective of this set of research projects is to be able to understand how saving for retirement and the distribution of wealth are likely to evolve over the coming decades and how they might respond to changes in economic policy.

This project is in an early stage, so this is an opportunity to be directly involved in the research process from the start. The research assistant will work with the faculty authors on the analysis of a dataset that contains information on standard economic quantities (income, spending and wealth holdings) as well as more novel measurements (such as cognitive abilities and genetic markers) for large nationally representative survey.

Requisite Skills and Qualifications:

Proficiency in a statistical/econometric software package (STATA or R) is essential.


Project Type: 
Tobin RA
Tobin Application
Project Type Year: 
Spring 2019 Tobin Research Projects