About NIA


Chief, Population and Social Processes Branch
Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)


John W. R. Phillips is a labor economist at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Behavioral and Social Research.  He serves as Health Scientist Administrator for Retirement Research and the Health and Retirement Studies around the world as well as Project Scientist for the Health and Retirement Study.  Over the course of his career, he has published research on retirement, saving, and intergenerational resource allocation.  His prior supervisory posts include Director of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Policy Research and Chief of the Population and Social Process Branch at the NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research.  Earlier in his career he served as an economist and federal project officer at SSA conducting research on retirement and directing the Retirement Research Consortium program for SSA.  He completed a two-year NIA postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania where he published work on early retirement, savings shortfalls, and intergenerational transfers. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Syracuse University in 1997.


  • Economics of work and retirement
  • Cross-national harmonization of longitudinal data studies
  • Behavioral economics and financial decision making
  • Economics of the family