EBRI's Research Capabilities

EBRI's Retirement Research and Data

  • The EBRI/ICI 401(k) Database includes individual-level data on 401(k) contributions, asset allocation, distributions, account balances, and loan activity.
  • The EBRI IRA Database includes account- and individual-level administrative data on IRA contributions (including rollovers), asset allocation, distributions, and account balances.
  • We have integrated the 401(k) and IRA databases to study individuals' asset allocations across plan types, behavior after rollover activity, and total retirement savings in 401(k) plans and IRAs.

The EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model®

Since 2003, EBRI has used this national model to produce micro-simulation analyses of retirement income adequacy focused on several measures of interest to plan sponsors, service providers, and public policy researchers. 

RSPM® projects adequacy under the current system and under various plan design, practice, or policy changes — such as expanding auto-enrollment and auto-escalation, deferring retirement age, limiting preretirement leakages, and tax reform proposals such as “Rothification” of employee 401(k) deferrals. 

RSPM® has been used in more than 50 publications; see: Retirement Security Projection Model® for more information.

Realizing that DC plans are a major source of retirement wealth for future retirees, RSPM® uniquely:

  • Combines publicly available government data with information based on administrative records from the EBRI/ICI 401(k) Database.
  • Allows stochastic modeling of longevity, investment, and long-term-care risks, in addition to deterministic modeling of costs for food, apparel and services, transportation, entertainment, reading and education, housing, and basic health expenditures.

EBRI's Health Research and Data

  • The EBRI HSA Database includes participant-level, administrative data on individual and employer contributions, distributions, beginning and end-of- year account balances, and investment activity.
  • EBRI collects data from various plan sponsors to conduct research on innovative approaches that employers use to provide health benefits to workers.
  • Using Truven’s Marketscan Database, EBRI is currently conducting studies on the use of specialty pharmacy medications, type of health plan, plan design, and worker productivity.
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Broad Research

EBRI’s objective research covers a wide range of retirement, health, and other benefit topics.

  • EBRI’s proprietary 401(k), IRA, and HSA databases allow us to complete unique research about the current system and the impact of possible design, practice, and policy changes.
  • Some studies are based on other data sources, including EBRI/Greenwald Research surveys and government surveys such as the Current Population Survey, the Health and Retirement Study, and the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey.