David A. Wise

Awards and Honors:
Econometric Society (elected fellow)
Biography: 

David A. Wise was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the John F. Stambaugh Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where he has taught since 1973.

He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is the area director for the Economics of Aging and the Health Economics Programs.

Wise edited and contributed two chapters to Facing the Age Wave (Hoover Institution Press, 1997). One of the chapters, "Keep Savers from Saving," is a collaboration with Hoover Institution senior fellow John Shoven. Wise and Shoven also wrote "The Taxation of Pensions: A Shelter Can Become a Trap" for Frontiers in the Economics of Aging (University of Chicago Press, 1998), which Wise edited. These papers played a key role in the government's revision of the law governing the taxation of pensions, which was changed nine months after their working paper appeared.

Wise has also written extensively on the effects of individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans on the determinants of retirement, including editing and coauthoring two chapters of Personal Savings, Personal Choice (1999). Recent papers include "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement" (2001), "The Transition to Personal Accounts and Increasing Retirement Wealth: Micro and Macro Evidence" (2001), and "Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look." (2001).

Employer-provided health insurance plans are another focus of Wise's research. His papers include "Social Security and Retirement around the World," "Little Saving and Too Much Medical Insurance: Medical Saving Accounts Could Help," "Implications of Rising Personal Retirement Saving," "Personal Retirement Savings Programs and Asset Accumulation: Reconciling the Evidence," "Where the Money Goes: Medical Expenditures in a Large Corporation," "Choice, Chance and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," "Health Expenditure Persistence and the Feasibility of Medical Savings Accounts," "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," and "Three Models of Retirement: Computational Complexity Versus Predictive Validity."

In addition, Wise has edited a long series of books on the economics of aging, including Social Security and Retirement around the World (1999); Frontiers in the Economics of Aging (1998); Inquiries in the Economics of Aging (1998); Advances in the Economics of Aging (1996); Aging in the United States and Japan: Economic Trends (1994); Studies in the Economics of Aging (1994); Topics in the Economics of Aging (1992); and Issues in the Economics of Aging (1990), all published by the University of Chicago Press.

Among the honors Wise has received are the Samuelson Award, Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security (1996), a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging (1989), the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society (1980), and the Buchanan Prize from the Economics Department at the University of California at Berkeley (1974).

Professor Wise received his B.A. degree from the University of Washington, and his M.A. in statistics and Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Recent Commentary

Keeping Savers from Saving

Keeping Savers from Saving

by David A. Wise, John Shovenvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

Beginning in the 1980s, the government began introducing individual retirement accounts and 401(k) programs--widely heralded moves. Since then, in widely unheralded moves, the government has imposed new, all but confiscatory taxes on the saving these programs have encouraged. An analysis by Stanford dean John B. Shoven and Hoover fellow David A. Wise.

John Shoven

Geezer Boom

by John Shoven, David A. Wise, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David Wise and Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences John Shoven recently spent an hour discussing the effects of Social Security on the aging baby boom population. Their conclusions? Without radical reforms, Social Security won't work. And without Social Security, a lot of boomers will go bust. An interview by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

AGING: From Baby Boom to Bust

with David A. Wise, John Shovenvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, March 3, 1997

Hoover fellow David Wise and Stanford economics professor and Dean of the School of Humanities and Science, John Shoven, discuss demographics, social security, health care, and retirement savings.