RAND Launches New Financial Literacy Center with Dartmouth College and the Wharton School

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Santa Monica, CA, October 7, 2009 — A new center dedicated to improving the financial literacy of the American public has been launched by the RAND Corporation, Dartmouth College and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Financial Literacy Center will receive more than $3 million during its first year from the U. S. Social Security Administration to develop educational materials and programs that help foster saving and retirement strategies over the life cycle.

The new center will be hosted by RAND and led by Director Annamaria Lusardi of Dartmouth College and RAND, Associate Director Olivia S. Mitchell of the Wharton School and Associate Director Arie Kapteyn of RAND. Each of the leaders has an international reputation for their work on financial literacy.

“Americans are assuming increasing responsibility for decisions that will determine whether they have enough money to support themselves in old age,” Lusardi said. “Unfortunately, they often lack the information and skills to make good decisions.”

The Financial Literacy Center will empower different population groups by developing and testing innovative financial educational products that address their needs.

Besides researchers from RAND, Dartmouth and the Wharton School, the Financial Literacy Center team includes experts in multiple disciplines from the American Enterprise Institute, Cornell University, Doorways to Dreams Fund, FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Greenwald and Associates, Harvard University, Harvard Business School, ideas42, the National Endowment for Financial Education, the National Bureau of Economic Research and North Carolina State University, along with a range of corporate and nonprofit collaborators.

As requested by the Social Security Administration, projects in the first year will tailor materials for Americans at various stages of their working lives—young workers, mid-career workers and those approaching retirement—as well as current retirees who must manage the resources they have accumulated. The center will also provide financial literacy products for underserved populations, such as low income, young, and disabled workers, who are particularly vulnerable during periods of financial turbulence.

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About Prof. Olivia Mitchell and the Wharton School
Olivia S. Mitchell is the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, the Executive Director of the Pension Research Council, and the Director of the Boettner Center on Pensions and Retirement Research at the Wharton School. Concurrently Dr. Mitchell is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Co-Investigator for the AHEAD/Health and Retirement Studies at the University of Michigan. Dr. Mitchell’s main areas of research and teaching are private and public insurance, risk management, public finance and labor markets, and compensation and pensions, with a US and an international focus. She received the B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The school has more than 4,700 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 12,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 85,000 graduates.

About the RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world.

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