Professor Kenneth Couch has made research presentations during the 2017 Spring semester at the Pew Research Center in Washington DC, the Wagner School at New York University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Michigan Retirement Research Consortium at the University of Michigan.
In each seminar Professor Couch discussed his research on the implications of rising longevity on Social Security programs. The research considers widely discussed reforms to the system to adjust benefit receipt in response to changing longevity and the distributional impacts of potential changes.
Professor Ken Couch and his collaborator, Barbara Smith, of the Social Security Administration (SSA) gave a presentation along with a select group of researchers invited to appear at a one-day symposium at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, DC on Financial Security Research. The research Couch and Smith presented focused on the impact of informational outreach by the SSA on retirement behavior in contrast to changes in the SSA retirement system itself.
Other presenters included faculty from Ohio State University, Penn, UCLA, USC, the University of Michigan and researchers from the Brookings Institution, the Upjohn Institute and the Employment Benefit Research Institute. The Acting Commissioner of SSA was in attendance along with many Assistant and Deputy Commissioners and Secretaries of SSA and Treasury.
The work of University of Connecticut Professors William Alpert, Kenneth Couch, and Oskar Harmon, entitled “A Randomized Assessment of Online Learning”, appears in the May issue of the American Economic Review. The paper was selected for inclusion in the Papers and Proceedings issue after being submitted in response to a national call for papers on economic education.
The study provides the fourth randomized examination of online versus face-to-face education ever conducted for a semester length college course. In this case, the course studied was microeconomic principles. The study shows that students in a face-to-face course did about half a letter grade better than students in a purely online course developed consistent with best practices for online education. The study finds that there are no meaningful differences in performance when comparing students in a course with a blended versus face-to-face format.
During the spring semester, Professor Kenneth Couch has made research presentations at the University of Michigan, Northeastern University, and SUNY-Albany.
Professor Couch has published a number of recent articles on the topic of Life Course Events and summarized that research in his presentations at Northeastern and SUNY-Albany. At Michigan, Professor Couch and his co-author presented their research regarding the impact of Social Security earnings statements on individual retirement timing as part of the Michigan Retirement Research Consortium (MRRC) annual meeting. The MRRC annual meeting is an invitation only conference for leading and emerging scholars working on issues related to the Social Security retirement benefit system.
Professor Kenneth Couch has received a research grant from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Couch will work with research staff at SSA to develop micro-simulation models that consider potential adjustments to the Social Security retirement benefit structure in response to increased longevity of Americans. A key concern is distributional equity of benefits for groups with shorter life expectancies and disproportionate rates of poverty.