RAND Behavioral Finance Forum 2020 Program

In partnership with AARP

Theme: Financial Security Over the Lifespan

Presenting author in italics. Speaker bios listed below.

Session I

Wednesday, October 14, 3–5 p.m. EDT
Theme: Retirement Savings — Industry-focused day

3:00 p.m.
Opening remarks: RAND and AARP
3:05 p.m.
Research session: Do investors react to clearer disclosures?
  • Out of sight no more? The effect of fee disclosures on 401(k) investment allocations
    • Mathias Kronlund, Veronika K. Pool, Clemens Sialm, and Irina Stefanescu
  • Text complexity and performance
  • Discussant: Joshua Dietch
3:55 p.m.
Brief break
4:00 p.m.
Innovation session: Beyond traditional retirement plans
4:50 p.m.
Closing discussion
5:00 p.m.
Virtual happy hour
5:30 p.m.

Session II

Friday, October 23, 12–2 p.m. EDT
Theme: Investor behavior — Keynote day

12:00 p.m.
Opening remarks: RAND Education and Labor
12:05 p.m.
Keynote: The role of attention in investor behavior
12:55 p.m.
Brief break
1:00 p.m.
Research session: Experimental evidence on trust and attention to information
  • Can Facing the Truth Improve Outcomes? Eff ects of Information in Consumer Finance
  • Robo-advisor adoption, willingness to pay, and trust—before and at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Discussant: Katherine G. Carman
1:50 p.m.
Closing discussion
2:00 p.m.
Virtual happy hour
2:30 p.m.

Session III

Thursday, October 29, 3–5 p.m. EDT
Theme: Household finance – Researcher-focused day

Opening remarks: RAND Education and Labor
3:05 p.m.
Research session: Optimal design of public policies
  • Liquidity and healthcare consumption: Evidence from Social Security payments
  • Optimal default retirement saving policies: Theory and evidence from OregonSaves
  • Discussant: Philip Armour
3:55 p.m.
Brief break
4:00 p.m.
Research session: Life events
  • How does wealth change around key life milestones?
  • Saving regret: Procrastination and unexpected shocks
    • Axel Börsch-Supan, Tabea Bucher-Koenen, Michael D. Hurd, and Susann Rohwedder
  • Discussant: Gary Koenig
4:50 p.m.
Closing discussion
5:00 p.m.
Virtual happy hour
5:30 p.m.

Speaker Bios

BeFi Director Drew M. Anderson is an associate economist at the RAND Corporation and Core Faculty at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research investigates how policy design shapes outcomes and costs. He has focused on financial decisions made by households, colleges, and state governments to allocate funding for higher education.

Philip Armour is an economist at the RAND Corporation and director of research, analysis, and design at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research surrounds disability and retirement policy: when and why people stop working, the public policies that shape this decision, and their resulting well-being. Recent research of his includes how personalized communications from Social Security affect workers’ expectations and behavior, and how student loan forgiveness options for the disabled affect disability program participation.

Daniel Ben-David is placed at the finance department, JBS, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focus is on financial algorithmic adoption, behavioral, and consumer finance.

Shlomo Benartzi is a behavioral economist interested in combining the insights of psychology and economics to solve big societal problems. He works on creating digital nudges that leverage technology to achieve massive scale and help millions make better financial decisions. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and is currently a professor emeritus and co-founder of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Benartzi is a distinguished senior fellow at the Wharton Behavior Change for Good Initiative.

Katherine G. Carman is a senior economist and director of the Center for Financial and Economic Decisionmaking at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on behavioral economics. Carman is particularly interested in how individuals’ beliefs, perceptions, and decisionmaking processes affect their choices. Currently she is studying the impact of COVID-19 on financial well-being and individual risk perceptions.

Warren Cormier is executive director of the DCIIA Retirement Research Center (RRC). He has previously served as CEO and co-founder of Boston Research Technologies and as president and founder of Boston Research Group. Cormier is a veteran in the financial services industry with more than 25 years of experience in research for investment companies, banks and insurance companies. He is also recognized as a market research leader in the defined contribution industry. Cormier is the cofounder of the Behavioral Finance Forum with Dr. Shlomo Benartzi and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Joshua Dietch is the group manager of Retirement Thought Leadership in Global Brand Marketing. Joshua is responsible for leading a team of researchers and writers who create retirement thought leadership in support of the firm’s workplace retirement, intermediary, and institutional businesses. He also is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Dietch’s investment experience began in 1995 and he has been with T. Rowe Price since 2017. Prior to this, he was employed by Strategic Insight as head of Retirement and Institutional. He also was managing director with Chatham Partners, director of product marketing and management with ADP Retirement Services, and associate director of institutional markets with Cerulli Associates.

Tal Gross is an associate professor in the Department of Markets, Public Policy & Law at Boston University. He is also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on health insurance and household finance. He previously taught at the University of Miami School of Business Administration and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Megan Hunter is an assistant professor of marketing at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. She graduated with her Ph.D. in quantitative marketing from Stanford Graduate School of Business this past June. Hunter’s work focuses on the economics of information and how consumers and firms strategically decide how to consume and display information.

Gary Koenig is vice president of financial security in the AARP Public Policy Institute, where he leads a team of policy experts working on economic, finance, and consumer issues important to individuals age 50+. He has been working on financial security issues for more than 20 years; his work focuses on Social Security, retirement savings, tax and budget policy, and the economic well-being of older Americans. Prior to joining AARP in 2008, Koenig was an economist for the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, where he specialized in employer-provided pensions and retirement plans. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and serves as a board member for the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Timothy Layton is an assistant professor of health care policy at HCP. His research focuses on the economics of health insurance markets with particular emphasis on understanding insurer behavior in those markets and designing optimal health plan payment systems. Dr. Layton and his collaborators are using economic models of health insurer behavior to design payment systems that combat inefficiencies caused by adverse selection. Dr. Layton’s work also focuses on problems with existing payment systems. In other work, Dr. Layton is studying consumer choice in the state and federal Marketplaces. Specifically, along with his coauthors, he is running a large randomized controlled trial to determine whether personalized information about cost savings induces plan switching among previously enrolled Marketplace enrollees. Finally, Dr. Layton is currently focusing his research on Medicaid Managed Care. CMS reports that around 80% of Medicaid enrollees are served through managed care delivery systems.

George Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a co-director of the Center for Behavioral Decision Research at CMU, and the director of behavioral economics at the Center for Health Incentives at the Leonard Davis Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on applications of psychology to economics, and specific interests include decision making over time, bargaining and negotiations, psychology and health, law and economics, the psychology of adaptation, the role of emotion in decision making, the psychology of curiosity, conflict of interest, various aspects of sex, unethical behavior, and issues involving research ethics. He helped to found the field of behavioral economics, the field of neuroeconomics, and was one of the early proponents of a new approach to public policy called, variously, “asymmetric paternalism” or “libertarian paternalism.”

V. Darleen Opfer is vice president and director of RAND Education and Labor and holds the Distinguished Chair in Education Policy at the RAND Corporation. She served as director of RAND Education from 2011 to 2018; from 2005 to 2011, she was director of research and senior lecturer in research methods and school improvement at the University of Cambridge’s (England) Faculty of Education. She has conducted policy research studies for a number of local, state, and national governments on issues that affect teachers and schools, including recruitment and retention, professional development, and impact of policies on teacher practice.

Susann Rohwedder is a senior economist at RAND and associate director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. Her research focuses on the economics of aging in the areas of household consumption and saving behavior; financial security of households; retirement; long-term care; disparities in health, mortality and dementia risk; and expectation formation.

Laurie Rowley is the CEO and co-founder of the financial technology company Icon Savings Plan. Icon is the first fully portable universally accessible retirement savings plan. Prior to Icon, she was the president and co-founder of NARPP, the non-profit dedicated to retirement savers. She has years of experience in retirement savings and human-centered design. Rowley was on the founding team of BeFi.

Brian Scholl is chief economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Investor Advocate (OIAD). A prominent advocate for evidence-based policymaking, he designed and launched the SEC’s investor testing and behavioral economics research initiative POSITIER (Policy-Oriented Stakeholder and Investor Testing for Innovative and Effective Regulation). POSITIER is considered one of the most innovative research programs in government, providing a powerful array of rapidly deployable, investor-focused data collection capacities to inform research and policymaking; the initiative has been estimated to have reduced the government’s typical data collection lifecycle by over 95%. Prior to his appointment with the SEC, he served as chief economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee where he managed the Committee’s Economics Unit, advised members on economic developments, and developed a broad range of policy proposals to aid recovery from the Great Recession. His research interests include household finance, behavioral economics, labor and development.

Clemens Sialm is a professor of finance and economics at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds the Texas Commerce Bankshares Centennial Professorship and is the Director of the AIM Investment Center. He is also a research associate in the Asset Pricing and Public Economics programs of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a senior fellow at the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Reserach, and an independent contractor at AQR Capital Management. He currently is the CEO of the MBA Investment Fund, an investment fund managed by MBA students at the University of Texas at Austin. Sialm’s research interests are in the areas of investments, retirement savings, and taxation.

Jialu L. Streeter is a research scholar and economist in Stanford University. She is a New Map of Life Financial Security Fellow at Stanford Center on Longevity. Streeter’s research primarily focuses on older adults’ financial and emotional well-being, including financial security in retirement, labor supply and retirement decisions, and social connectedness. Before moving to the Bay Area, she was an economics professor at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.

Mingli Zhong is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Her research focuses on the optimal design of retirement saving policy, social insurance, and regulation of financial and labor markets. She is studying the effects of several factors on the well-being of workers: automatic enrollment retirement plans, unemployment insurance during economic downturns, the gig economy, and the COVID-19 pandemic.