The program development core supports small-scale exploratory research on new and innovative project ideas, nearly all of which add new dimensions to the larger themes of the Center's research agenda. These pilot awards are intended to advance five objectives. The first is to advance research on the ongoing themes of the Center, but which are more innovative or experimental, or which lay the foundation for larger-scale projects under development. The second is to engage highly accomplished senior scholars or highly promising junior scholars in the collaborative research activity of the Center. The third is to respond quickly to research opportunities that arise based on policy developments or other current events, such as changes in tax policy, retirement policy, or health policy. The fourth is to explore new data resources, new research methodologies, experimental interventions, or cross-disciplinary approaches that enrich the Center effort as a whole. The firth is to involve researchers from other disciplines, or individuals with practical expertise, who can provide new perspectives on center research. We propose four pilot projects for the first year of the Center renewal: (1) the long term impact of health insurance expansions, (2) ACOs and decision-making in hospitals, (3) the use of financial incentives and "nudges" to improve health behavior, and (4) using firm benefits data to understand labor force decision-making.
Small pilot projects are a very effective mechanism for stimulating research development, and for inspiring outstanding investigators to develop a longer-term research agenda in aging. Pilot project funding offers the most flexible and cost-effective resource that we have at the NBER for stimulating and developing new research in aging.
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