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Karen Holden

Karen C.A. Holden

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Professor Emeritus, Department of Consumer Science and Public Affairs


Role of Knowledge and Shocks in Economic Well-being

Although retired from the faculty (since May 2009), I continue active involvement in research primarily as co-PI of the Social Security grant to the Center for Financial Security as one of the three national Centers forming the Financial Literacy Research Consortium. The Centers were established by the Social Security Administration to "develop innovative ways to help Americans plan for a secure retirement." The UW Center ( http://www.cfs.wisc.edu/Home.aspx ) focuses on vulnerable populations, the financial issues they face in saving for retirement, and the implications for financial literacy education.

A recent research focus of mine has been on financial literacy education. I completed a study with Professor Wendy Way on the capacity of K-12 teachers to teach financial literacy topics. Another project has examined the potential effectiveness of pre-school financial literacy education, asking what topics and approaches are consistent with children's cognitive development and whether there have been rigorous evaluations of financial literacy programs targeted on young children.

I continue research that seeks to understand how public policy, through regulation or direct program assistance, reduces the financial and health consequences of critical life events (e.g., disability, divorce, widowhood, death, job loss). It is part of a larger interest in the adequacy of resources during retirement and understanding the effects of public programs and policies that attempt to influence the economic well being of vulnerable individuals. Most of this body of research has been on the economic consequences of widowhood, disability, and retirement with a focus on how public and private insurance can mitigate the economic consequences of those events. Related to this is my interest in understanding how health insurance coverage for a woman is affected by husband's death, his retirement, or her own job changes. Another body of research examines savings adequacy at retirement and during the early retirement years.

I continue involvement with the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey, a sample of 1957 Wisconsin high school graduates, currently a prime group for examining income, wealth, and health insurance issues during the retirement. Projects look at the role of financial preparation in adjustments of families to a death of a family (WLS graduate) member and the relationship between early life circumstances and education to later life financial knowledge and well-being.

Representative Publications
Holden, K., & Collins, M. (2014). Measuring the Impacts of Financial Literacy: Challenges for Community Based Financial Education. In K.S. Forte, E.W. Taylor, & E.J. Tisdell (Eds.), Financial Literacy and Adult Education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Volume 141. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wallace, G.L., Haveman, R., Holden, K., & Wolfe, B. (2013). Health and Wealth in Early Retirement. In K.A. Couch, M.C. Daly, J.M. Zissimopoulos (Eds.). Lifecycle Events and Their Consequences: Job Loss, Family Change and Declines in Health (pp. 260-279) Stanford University Press.

Holden, K. C. (2011). Guest editor's introduction to the thematic issue on family finance. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32(4), 552-553.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1007/s10834-011-9278-8

Scheinholtz, L., Holden, K. & Kalish, C. (2010). Cognitive development and children's understanding of personal finance. In D. Lamdin (Ed.), Financial decisions across the lifespan: Problems, programs, and prospects. New York: Springer.

Holden, K., & Fontes, A. (2009). Employment and economic security in retirement: How changes in employment have altered retirement-related economic risks for women. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 30(2-3), 173-197.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1080/15544770902901817

Holden, K. (2009). The boomers and their economic prospects. In R. Hudson (Ed.), Perspectives on the Boomers (Vol. 1). (pp. 63-76). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing.

Way, W.L., & Holden, K.C. (2009). Teachers' background and capacity to teach personal finance: Results of a national study. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(2), 64-78.

Holden, K., Kim, J., & Fontes, A. (2008). Happiness as a complex financial phenomenon: The financial and psychological adjustment to widowhood in the U.S. In J. Bradshaw (Ed.), Social security, happiness and well-being. International Studies in Social Security, Volume 14. Foundation for International Studies on Social Security.

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wolfe, B., & Romanov, A. (2007). Assessing the maintenance of savings sufficiency over the first decade of retirement. International Tax and Public Finance, 14, 481-502.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1007/s10797-007-9027-y

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wolfe, B., & Romanov, A. (2007). A comparison of two cohorts of retired workers at the time of retirement. In B. Madrian, O. S. Mitchell, & B. J. Soldo (Eds.), Redefining retirement: How will boomers fare? Philadelphia, PA: Wharton Pension Research Council/Oxford University Press.

Holden, K., & Hatcher, C. (2006). Economic Status of the Aged. In R. Binstock & L.K. George (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences. Elsevier.

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wolfe, B., & Sherlund, S. (2006). Do newly retired workers in the United States have sufficient resources to maintain well-being? Economic Inquiry, 44(2), 249-64.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1093/ei/cbj023

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wolfe, B., & Sherlund, S. (2006). Have newly retired workers in the U.S. saved enough to maintain well-being through retirement years? Journal of Economic Inquiry, 44(2), 249-264.

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wolfe, B., & Romanov, A. (2005). Assessing the maintenance of savings sufficiency over the first decade of retirement. CESifo Working Paper Series No. 1567, from the SSRN Electronic Paper Collection..

Holden, K., & Brand, J. (2003). Income change and distribution upon widowhood: Comparison of Britain, U.S., and Germany. In E. Overbye & P. Kemp (Eds.), Pensions: Challenges and reform. Aldershot, Ashgate.

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wilson, K., & Wolfe, B. (2003). Social Security, age-of-retirement, and economic wellbeing: Intertemporal and demographic patterns among retired-worker beneficiaries. Demography, 40(2), 369-394.

Rappaport, A., & Holden, K. (2002). Risk management and insurance. In D.J. Ekerdt (Ed.), The Macmillan encyclopedia of aging (Vol. 26). New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

Holden, K.C., & Kim, M. (2001). Poverty. In G. Maddox (Ed.), The encyclopedia of aging: A comprehensive resource in gerontology and geriatrics (3rd ed.). New York: Springer Publishing.

Holden, K. (2001). Chronic and disabling conditions: The economic costs to individuals and society. The Public Policy and Aging Report, 11(2), 1-6. Washington, DC: National Academy on an Aging Society.

Zick, C., & Holden, K.C. (2000). An assessment of the wealth holdings of recent widows. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 55(2), S90-S97.

Holden, K.C., & Reynolds, A. (2000). Process evaluation of W-2: What it is, why it is useful, and how to do it? In B. Barnow, T. Kapaln, & R. Moffitt (Eds.), Evaluating comprehensive state welfare reform. Albany NY: The Rockefeller Institute Press.

Holden, K.C., & Hansen, W.L. (2000). Reflections on an earlier study of mandatory retirement: What came true and what we can still learn. In R. Clark & B. Hammond (Eds.), To retire or not: Examining retirement policy and behavior in higher education. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Holden, K.C., & Zick, C. (2000). Distributional changes in income and wealth upon widowhood: implications for private insurance and public policy. In SOA Monograph M-RS00-1, Retirement needs framework. Schaumburg, IL: Society of Actuaries.

Spratlin, J., & Holden, K. (2000). Women and economic security in retirement: Implications for Social Security reform. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 21(1), 37.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1023/A:1009427530441

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