Creating Public-Use Code for Calculating Wealth, Income, and Replacement Rates in the Health and Retirement Study

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Anqi Chen and Nilufer Gok, Boston CollegeThe Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a primary source of information on retirement wealth, income, and replacement rates, but calculating these measures requires a host of methodological choices that affect the results.  Since researchers have not yet established clear best practices, studies using the HRS are often inconsistent and difficult to replicate.  Additionally, the steep learning curve is daunting to young scholars who may be interested in exploring retirement issues.This project will make the HRS more accessible by developing a methodological guide and clean, well-documented, code that builds on RAND to calculate retirement wealth, income, and replacement rates.  First, the project will identify the key conceptual and technical choices that must be made when analyzing a household’s financial resources in the HRS, conduct a literature review to establish best practices, and summarize the findings in a “how-to” guide.  Second, the project will write STATA code to implement this methodology, updating the code biennially with new HRS releases.  Lastly, the documentation and code will be posted publicly on the CRR’s website.