Applying Research to Help Manage an Aging Workforce
April 27-28, 2017


This conference is organized and hosted by the Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL) and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), and sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This invitation-only conference will be held on April 27-28 on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, CA.

The purpose of the conference is to gather a small group of academic researchers, employers and human resource practitioners to discuss practical ideas that apply emerging academic research to managing an aging workforce.

We aim to facilitate a constructive exchange that will benefit both researchers and practitioners:

  • Give academic researchers a forum to test and refine their ideas with practitioners, and help researchers make connections that could be useful and potentially provide access to data for their research.
  • Help practitioners share their most pressing challenges, as well as understand research results and the resulting conclusions that might help them manage an aging workforce.

We hope to identify opportunities for real-world application of these ideas, topics for future research, and possibilities for collaboration between researchers and industry. One goal for this conference is find practical applications for research that’s been presented at prior SIEPR Working Longer and Retirement academic conferences.

The topics of the conference include:

  • Myths about the older workforce, measuring older worker productivity/labor costs.
  • Strategies to enhance older worker productivity, including alternative career trajectories.
  • Strategies, issues, and programs to help older workers transition from the workforce.

Please see the below agenda for more details.


Thursday, April 27

12:00 to 1:00 pm Informal lunch and registration
1:00 to 1:15 pm Welcoming remarks
Speaker: John Shoven (Stanford University)

1:15 to 2:15 pm Rapid introductions. Each attendee presents one slide on the key challenges and opportunities they are facing. Limit one minute each.

Moderator: Steve Vernon (Stanford Center on Longevity)

2:15 to 3:15 pm Session 1: Myths about the older workforce, measuring older worker productivity/labor costs

Speakers: Mike Hurd/Susann Rohwedder (RAND Corp), Bob Willis (University of Michigan), Haig Nalbantian (Mercer)

3:15 to 3:30 pm Break
3:30 to 4:15 pm Session 2: Future Research Directions, panel discussion and audience Q&A

Moderator: Ramsey Alwin (AARP)

4:15 to 5:15 Session 3: What do older workers want?   

Speakers: Harry Conaway (Employee Benefits Research Institute), Steve Vernon (Stanford Center on Longevity)

5:30 to 8:00 pm Reception and dinner

Speaker: Laura Carstensen, PhD – Professor of Psychology; Director, Stanford Center on Longevity

We will provide a shuttle from the conference to the Sheraton Palo Alto after dinner.

Friday, April 28

7:45 am Shuttle from the Sheraton Palo Alto to the Koret Taube Conference Center
8:00 to 8:30 am Continental breakfast
8:30 to 10:00 am Session 4: Strategies to enhance older worker productivity, including alternative career trajectories.

Speakers: Dawn Carr (Florida State University), Nicole Maestas (Harvard University)

Panel Discussion: Future research directions, panel discussion 

Moderator: Catherine Collinson (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

10:00 to 10:15 am Break
10:15 to 11:45 am Session 5: Strategies, issues, and programs to help older workers transition from the workforce.

Speakers: Gopi Shah Goda (Stanford University), Bob Clark (North Carolina State University)

Panel Discussion: Future research directions, panel discussion and audience Q&A

Moderator: Harry Conaway (Employee Benefits Research Institute)

11:45 to 12:45 pm Session 6: The Future Workforce, panel discussion

Panel Discussion: Moderator Martha Deevy

12:45 pm Adjourn (lunch available)


To start the conference and encourage interaction, each attendee will have up to one minute (and one slide) to introduce themselves, share their work, and describe the challenges they are facing.  We have found this to be a very engaging way to jump-start the discussions and get to know each other. Please submit your one Powerpoint slide to Sasha Johnson-Freyd ([email protected]) by April 20.


Catherine Collinson is the President of the Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, where she oversees all research and outreach initiatives. Her work focuses on how to prepare employees for financial success in retirement, including through employer-sponsored plans. Catherine Collinson also is the Executive Director of The Netherlands’ Aegon Center on Longevity and Retirement.

Haig Nalbantian is a Senior Partner and Co-Founder of the Workforce Sciences Institute at Mercer. His research and work focuses in on managing and measuring human capital. In his role at Mercer he develops and implements advanced analytical methods to measure the economic impact of workforce management practices.

John Shoven is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics at Stanford. His research focuses on public and corporate finance, including Social Security, health economics, corporate and personal taxation, mutual funds, pension plans, economic demography and applied general equilibrium economics. Dr. Shoven is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Michael Hurd is the Director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. His research as a Senior Principal Researcher at RAND examines the structural and behavioral economics of aging, including related to retirement plans, Social Security, the use of health care services, the relationship between socioeconomic status and mortality, the monetary costs of dementia, and the costs of long-term care.

Robert Clark is a Professor of Economics and Management at the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University. His research examines retirement decisions, the impact of DC vs. DB plans, government pension regulation, employer-provided financial literacy programs, and the role of supplementary retirement saving plans in the public sector. Dr. Clark is also a Research Associate with the NBER’s program in Aging, a member of the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Fellow of the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the TIAA-CREF Institute.

Robert Willis is a Professor of Economics and Research Professor at the Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. His research examines labor economics, family, and intergenerational transfers and cognitive economics. Dr. Willis is also the former Director of the Health and Retirement Study and current member of the HRS investigator team.  He also serves on the External Advisory Committee of the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences.

Dawn Carr is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Associate at the Pepper Institute for Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University. Dr. Carr’s research examines the factors that bolster older adults’ ability to remain healthy and active as long as possible, with a particular focus on work/retirement, volunteer engagement, and care work in mid- and later-life.

Nicole Maestas is an Associate Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Her research studies how the health and disability insurance systems affect individual economic behaviors, such as labor supply and the consumption of medical care. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard, she was a senior economist at RAND, where she served as Director of the Economics, Sociology and Statistics Research Department as well as of the Center for Disability Research.

Gopi Shah Goda is a Senior Fellow and the Deputy Director at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) at Stanford. Her research examines the economics and aging, with a focus on economic policymaking. She studies retirement savings decision-making and effects of long-term care insurance on family members’ work and location decisions. Dr. Goda is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

Susann Rohwedder is a Senior Economist at the RAND Corporation, Associate Director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging, and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. Her research examines the economics of aging, with a focus on household consumption and saving behavior, retirement, long-term care and expectation formation. Dr. Rohwedder is a research fellow of NETSPAR (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement) in the Netherlands, a member of the Survey Committee of the German Socio-Economic Panel, and the Associate Editor of the Journal of the Economics of Ageing.




Koret Taube Conference Center, 366 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA 94305 Directions


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Sheraton Palo Alto, 625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301, at a special Stanford rate of $359/night for the nights of WednesdayApril 26 and Thursday, April 27. To make your hotel reservations please call 1-800-325-3535 or email [email protected], and mention “Working Longer Conference” when making your reservation. The cut-off date for making a reservation at the Stanford rate is Friday, April 7.


Please make your own travel arrangements. There are three airports in the Bay Area.

  • San Jose International Airport (SJC) – 15 miles from Stanford
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – 20 miles from Stanford
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) – 30 miles from Stanford


• We will provide all meals during the conference.

© Copyright - Stanford Center on Longevity