COVID-19 and retirement: Impact and policy responses

COVID-19 and retirement: Impact and policy responses


COVID-19 has shaken America and the world, causing widespread social and economic upheaval. The most obvious and distressing cost is the tens of thousands of lives lost to the pandemic, but attendant costs range from shuttered businesses to an unprecedented hole in the federal budget.

As policymakers and others continue to grapple with controlling the pandemic, the permanent scars from this episode have yet to become clear. This brief discusses the ways these social and economic impacts may transform retirement. Because this pandemic is unique in modern times, there is massive uncertainty about the future, but we will make arguments based on empirical evidence as much as possible. Our central conclusion is that the pandemic will threaten the quality of retirement for today’s retirees and near retirees by undercutting resources for retirement, imposing steep (but necessary) social restrictions, and calling into question the safety of institutional care.

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COVID-19 Financial Vulnerability Retirement and pensions


Martin Neil Baily

Benjamin H. Harris

Siddhi Doshi


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Date published


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United States


Policy makers, General





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