Featured Reports

Out of Balance: A Look at Snack Foods in Secondary Schools across the States

Out of Balance: A Look at Snack Foods in Secondary Schools across the States

The majority of our nation’s secondary schools do not sell fruits and vegetables in school stores, snack bars, or vending machines, according to a new report by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. Read More

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: An Assessment of the Evidence for Best Practices

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: An Assessment of the Evidence for Best Practices

A PDMP is a statewide electronic database that gathers information from pharmacies on dispensed prescriptions for controlled substances. This white paper describes what is known about PDMP best practices and documents the extent to which these practices have been implemented. Read More

Legal Review Concerning the Use of Health Impact Assessments in Non-Health Sectors

Legal Review Concerning the Use of Health Impact Assessments in Non-Health Sectors

This report examines the legal foundations that support incorporating health considerations into policy and programmatic decisions made in non-health fields. The findings are intended to aid public health professionals and others who seek to ensure that such decisions are made with health in mind. Read More

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Feb 3, 2006

Making Good Choices (Winter 2005-2006 Trust Magazine article)

In partnership with Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute and the Brookings Institution, the two-year, $3.9-million Retirement Security Project (RSP) is backed by an advisory board that includes members of five presidential administrations. RSP is looking for practical, commonsense ways to both prompt people to save more and identify incentives to saving embedded in government programs and policies.

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Retirement Security

Feb 1, 2006

Notes from the President: Passages (Winter 2005-2006 Trust Magazine)

Is any institution so perfectly organized as to be immune to change? For sure, organizations must be well designed for their mission, but also adapt to changing times—not to fads, but to the deeper currents that distinguish an era. Those that reinvent themselves are more likely to be relevant to the next generation.

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Retirement Security

Jan 1, 2006

Using Tax Refunds to Increase Savings and Retirement Security

Allowing households to split their refunds could make saving simpler and, thus, more likely. Since federal income tax refunds total nearly $230 billion a year (more than twice the estimated annual aggregate amount of net personal saving in the United States), even a modest increase in the proportion of refunds saved every year could bring about a significant increase in savings.

This policy brief explores the important potential of refund splitting to expand savings and discusses the obstacles and practical steps needed to make the splitting of tax refunds a reality.

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Retirement Security

Nov 29, 2005

Creating a Genetic Testing Specialty Under CLIA

Since the inception of the Human Genome Project in 1990, genetic testing has become an increasingly integral component in the diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of numerous diseases and conditions. Today, the number of genetic tests available is rising dramatically, with new tests entering the healthcare market every day. Information gained from genetic test results has a significant impact on medical decision-making.

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Genetics

Sep 20, 2005

The Student Debt Dilemma

When student loans are the only way to pay for college, who decides how much debt a degree is worth? This paper explores how debt aversion and conflicting views about the role of student loans affect young people, their families, and those who advise them.

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Health Topics

Aug 1, 2005

Leveraging Tax Refunds to Encourage Saving

One of the most auspicious ways to make it easier for households to save, for retirement and other purposes, is by allowing them to directly deposit part of their income tax refund into a savings vehicle. This policy brief examines ways of encouraging households to save at one of their most "savable" moments: when they learn they will receive a substantial federal tax refund.

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Retirement Security

Jul 14, 2005

Retirement Security For Latinos

Too many Americans — and too many Latinos in particular — are not saving adequately for retirement. Half of all households nearing retirement have only $10,000 or less in an employer-based 401(k)-type plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Among Hispanics, the figures are even more astonishing: over half of Hispanic households aged 55 to 59 have no accumulated assets in a 401(k) or IRA. A variety of other measures confirm that Latinos are disproportionately likely to be undersaving. This report discusses ways to address this problem.

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Retirement Security

Jun 1, 2005

Protecting Low-Income Families' Savings

The eligibility rules for certain means-tested programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid often discourage saving for retirement by people who are potentially otherwise eligible for and may need these programs. By excluding 401(k) and IRA savings from these asset tests, we would increase the likelihood that lower-income earners will save for retirement. Those who do the right thing by saving should not be excluded from programs that help so many Americans make it through hard times.

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Retirement Security

May 10, 2005

Automatic Investment: Improving 401(k) Portfolio Investment Choices

Self-direction of investments is a common feature of 401(k) plans, but it is not working as well as it could. Employees frequently fail to diversify their investments or rebalance their portfolios over time. One concern is that workers often invest too large a share of their 401(k) savings in their employer’s stock, which can prove especially costly: if the employer falls on hard times, workers stand to lose not only their jobs but also their retirement savings. But even when the plan sponsor does not collapse, poor investment choices impose unnecessary risk on workers, threaten the level and security of retirement income, and reduce the public policy benefits from 401(k) tax preferences.

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Retirement Security

May 9, 2005

Saving Incentives for Low- and Middle-Income Families

This paper analyzes the effects of a large randomized field experiment, carried out with H&R Block, offering matching incentives for IRA contributions at the time of tax preparation. About 15,000 H&R Block clients, in 60 offices in predominantly low- and middle-income neighborhoods in St. Louis, were randomly offered a 20 percent match on IRA contributions, a 50 percent match, or no match (the control group).

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Retirement Security

Mar 1, 2005

The Automatic 401(k): A Simple Way to Strengthen Retirement Savings

Over the past quarter century, private pension plans in the United States have trended toward a do-it-yourself approach, in which covered workers bear more investment risk and make more of their own decisions about their retirement savings. Some workers have thrived under this more individualized approach, amassing sizable balances in 401(k)s and similar plans, which will assure them a comfortable and relatively secure retirement income.

For others, however, the 401(k) revolution has fallen short of its potential. Work, family, and other more immediate demands often distract workers from the need to save and invest for the future. A disarmingly simple concept—what we call the automatic 401(k)”—has thepotential to cut through this Gordian knot and improve retirement security for millions of workers through a set of common sense reforms.

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Retirement Security

Mar 1, 2005

The Savers' Credit: Expanding Retirement Savings for Middle- and Lower-Income Americans

The Saver’s Credit is the first and so far only major federal legislation directly targeted at promoting taxqualified retirement savings for middle- and lower-income workers. Although this is an important step, several options are available to improve the design, not the least of which is the credit’s scheduled expiration at the end of 2006.The first section of the paper provides background on the evolution and design of the Saver’s Credit. The second section discusses the rationale behind the Saver’s Credit and the role of such a credit in the retirement income security system as a whole. The third section examines empirical data and models of the revenue and distributional effects of the Saver’s Credit. The fourth section discusses measures that would expand the scope and improve the efficacy of the Saver’s Credit.

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Retirement Security

Mar 1, 2005

Common Sense Reforms to Promote Retirement Security

As the baby boomers near retirement, defects in the nation’s private pension system are becoming obvious. Only about half of workers contribute to an employer-sponsored pension plan in any given year, and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) participation rates are substantially lower. Among workers with tax-preferred retirement saving plans, few make the maximum allowable contribution. And despite the many private savings incentives, many households approach retirement with meager funds.

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Retirement Security

Dec 4, 2004

Tending The Fields

Not surprisingly, most states with large agricultural sectors are intensely interested in the economic promise of agricultural biotechnology. Many are eager to capture the economic development and growth potential of a new technology that could provide added value to low-priced commodity crops

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Food Safety

May 1, 2004

Fostering the Future: Safety, Permanence and Well-Being for Children in Foster Care

All children need safe, permanent families that love, nurture, protect, and guide them. This was the starting point for the work of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care and a steady compass throughout our deliberations. More

Apr 1, 2004

Issues in the Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals

A range of options exists to enhance the regulatory review process to address new challenges future products of agricultural biotechnology are likely to present, although opinions vary about the need for change, according to Issues in the Regulation of Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals, a report by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology.

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Food Safety

Feb 1, 2004

Nation's Child Welfare System Doubles Number of Adoptions from Foster Care

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently announced the awarding of the final round of currently authorized adoption incentive payments (totaling $14.9 million to 25 states and Puerto Rico) for increasing the number of children adopted from state-supervised foster care in fiscal year 2002. These incentive payments, announced every year at the close of the federal fiscal year, are part of a sweeping set of reforms outlined in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA). The enactment of ASFA was coupled with a call to double the number of adoptions from the nation’s child welfare system by 2002. Our nation’s child welfare system succeeded in meeting this challenge, more than doubling the number of adoptions out of foster care by 2002. More

Sep 10, 2001

Harvest on the Horizon

The increasing use of modern biotechnology in agriculture has generated significant debate, much of which centers on the rapidly growing use of food crops that have been genetically modified to make them more resistant to pests or chemical herbicides. As a result, the debate has not usually addressed the potential products of agricultural biotechnology that are on the horizon.

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Food Safety