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Richard Disney

Richard Disney is Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham and Research Fellow at the Institute of Fiscal Studies, London.

Titles by This Author

The United States Social Security fund is huge and in trouble. The United Kingdom has experimented with the voluntary contracting out of pensions to the private sector. Chile has privatized its public pension system. Australia has adopted a means-tested public pension system. Japan has the earliest retirement age of any advanced economy; it also has the highest rate of labor force participation by elderly men. Can We Afford to Grow Older? provides a comprehensive, up-to-date survey of the implications of population aging in these and other OECD countries relative to a range of specific interrelated issues—Social Security schemes, employer pensions, educational attainment, wage growth and distribution, economic productivity, consumption, savings, retirement, and health care—all within a realistic framework for modeling and discussing policy. International in scope, filled with rich institutional detail, and built on a solid technical foundation, this will be a standard reference on the economic consequences of aging.

Richard Disney adopts a "life-cycle" view of the world which recognizes that individuals often make plans with a forward-looking perspective across the stages of childhood, the peak of economic productivity, and retirement. He stresses the existence of overlapping generations and the reality of generational transactions (which include tax and transfer systems, bequests, and charity to the elderly). And he assumes intertemporal optimization as a useful unifying basis for analyzing social security, private pension schemes, lifetime labor-supply decisions, consumption, and saving.

Among the surprising conclusions that emerge is that there is no "crisis of aging"—no adverse effect of aging on productivity. And although there are serious crises in pay-as-you-go social insurance programs and in health care, these have little to do with aging. Moreover, the shift in private provision plans away from traditional defined- benefit plans will continue, along with an interest in privatized pensions instead of social security.

Titles by This Editor

Academic research and policy discussions of credit markets usually focus on borrowing by firms and producers rather than by households, which are typically analyzed in terms of their savings and portfolio choices. The Economics of Consumer Credit brings together leading international researchers to focus specifically on consumer debt, presenting current empirical and theoretical research crucial to ongoing policy debates on such topics as privacy rules, the regulation of contractual responsibilities, financial stability, and overindebtedness.The rapidly developing consumer credit industry in the United States is mirrored by that in Europe, and this volume is noteworthy for its cross-national perspective. Several chapters compare the use of credit markets by households in different countries, while others focus on single country case studies--including consumer credit dynamics in Italy, the role of housing expenditure in the cyclical pattern of borrowing in the United Kingdom, and the use of credit cards by U.S. consumers--to illustrate general insights. Other chapters draw policy lessons from the U.S. experience with bankruptcy regulation and the development of the credit counseling industry. Finally, the book reviews historical, theoretical, and empirical aspects of information sharing, of particular interest in light of the integration of European Union credit markets.Contributors:Carol C. Bertaut, Giuseppe Bertola, Sarah Bridges, Luca Casolaro, Jonathan Crook, Richard Disney, Leonardo Gambacorta, Charles Grant, Luigi Guiso, Michael Haliassos, Andrew Henley, Robert M. Hunt, Tullio Jappelli, Nicola Jentzsch, Marco Pagano, Amparo San José Riestra, Michael Staten, Michelle J. White