A.B., Harvard College; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor of Economics; Director, Knapp Social Science Center
Public economist, interested in using economic principles and research to inform our thinking about critical public policy issues.
Broadly speaking, I am interested in the role of the government in the economy, including taxes and government spending programs. My research has centered on issues in the economics of aging, particularly the economic determinants of workers’ retirement decisions. One branch of my work, conducted jointly with my colleague Phil Levine, has examined the impact of recessions and stock market fluctuations on retirement and retiree well-being. Much of that work is summarized in our book, Reconsidering Retirement: How Losses and Layoffs Affect Older Workers (Brookings Institution Press, 2010). I am also exploring the effect of Disability Insurance on retirement as a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s International Social Security Working Group.
At Wellesley, I teach courses in introductory microeconomics, econometrics, health economics, and public economics (Economics 101, 203, 232, and 310). The first two courses teach students to think like an economist and provide them with the tools they need to explore the economic questions that interest them. In health and public economics, we make use of these tools to explore the health care sector and taxes and spending programs from an economic perspective.
I am actively engaged in the economics profession. I am a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. I currently serve on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Long-Run Macroeconomic Effects of the Aging U.S. Population (Phase II). I am an editor of The Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, an academic journal focusing on pensions and retirement, and the editor of the NBER’s Bulletin on Aging and Health. I have served as a consultant to the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration. I have appeared on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and my work been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two elementary school-age children.