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According to some industry estimates, fantasy sports is now a $4 billion industry and growing quickly. What is fantasy sports, who provides fantasy sports platforms, what are the most popular fantasy sports, and -- coming off the Indianapolis Colts' recent Super Bowl win -- can we assume there will be a Super Bowl for fantasy football, or for baseball, basketball or hockey? Knowledge@Wharton asked Kent Smetters, professor of insurance and risk management, to bring us up to speed on the future of this industry.
From: February 07, 2007
If 401(k)s and similar plans are the main way Americans invest for retirement, how can employers improve them? By making enrollment automatic, minimizing the use of the employer's stock, expanding the role of annuities and improving employees' financial knowledge, according to a set of recommendations issued by the Financial Economists Roundtable, a group of about 50 prominent economists, including several Wharton faculty members.
From: October 18, 2006
In the five years since the attacks on September 11, 2001, Howard Kunreuther, Wharton professor of operations and information management, has collaborated with members of the private and public sectors to determine how individuals and firms can be motivated to enhance security in our interconnected world. In a new book titled, Seeds of Disaster, Roots of Response: How Private Action Can Reduce Public Vulnerability
, Kunreuther and other contributors argue that the United States will continue to be at risk for low-probability, high-consequence events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina until the private sector and public leadership develop strategies to persuade individuals and firms to invest in cost-effective protective measures. The book is edited by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, managing director of Wharton's Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes, and three others.
From: September 27, 2006
In the United States alone, an unprecedented 77 million baby-boomers will be living the next 20 to 30 years in retirement. With long lives ahead of them -- and without adequate planning -- what are the risks they are facing? According to Olivia Mitchell, Wharton professor of insurance and risk management, and Christopher "Kip" Condron, president and CEO of AXA Financial, the world's largest financial services firm, the rising tide of boomers in the U.S. and around the world needs to meet challenges that previous generations never faced, including changes to key retirement institutions, as well as medical-care cost inflation and the "lump-sum illusion." Knowledge@Wharton spoke with Mitchell and Condron about how the financial services industry is working to meet the needs of this next wave of retirees.
From: July 26, 2006
With $2.5 trillion invested in 401(k) retirement accounts, 60 million Americans control a powerful chunk of cash. So how much attention do investors pay to this vast pool of savings? Not much. According to a new Wharton analysis of retirement accounts managed by The Vanguard Group in 2003 and 2004, participants in 401(k) plans made little effort to tend their defined-contribution plans once they were set up. Even among those who did trade regularly, turnover rates were one-third those of professional money managers. Olivia S. Mitchell, executive director of Wharton's Pension Research Council, Stephen P. Utkus, principal, Vanguard Center for Retirement Research, and researchers Gary Mottola and Takeshi Yamaguchi present their findings in a paper entitled, "The Inattentive Participant: Portfolio Trading Behavior in 401(k) Plans."
From: March 08, 2006
IBM. Verizon. Sears. Hewlett-Packard. Motorola. The list of corporations that have put a halt to guaranteed pension plans comes as a jolt to Baby Boom employees entering what they thought would be their peak pension-building years. At the same time, new accounting rules and Congressional legislation are being drafted to close the U.S. pension-funding gap, now estimated at $450 billion. While some proposals under discussion could make it easier for companies to discontinue defined-benefit plans, others would create incentives to support defined-contribution programs, such as 401(k) plans, according to Wharton faculty and pension experts. Amid all this flux, they add, one thing seems certain: Pension plans have become risky business.
From: February 08, 2006
On September 15, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer indicted eight former executives from Marsh & McLennan Companies -- Marsh itself was not charged -- for their part in an alleged bid-rigging scheme. For Spitzer, bid-rigging is just part of the problem with the insurance industry. He says that another practice, contingent commissions, also artificially inflates the price of commercial insurance and therefore should no longer be allowed. Yet according to Wharton professor J. David Cummins, "contingent commissions can help keep property-casualty and other markets efficient," and may "actually level the playing field by giving buyers and sellers equal access to vital market information."
From: October 19, 2005
Viewed as one of the world's most innovative pension systems when it was created a quarter century ago, the Chilean retirement program is receiving new scrutiny as participants begin to reach retirement age, and President Bush promotes elements of the plan as a way to reform Social Security in the United States. An upcoming Presidential election in Chile has prompted additional debate about whether the Chilean system provides enough coverage to prevent old-age poverty, according to Olivia Mitchell, Wharton professor of risk management, who recently led a panel entitled, "Exporting the Pension Revolution: Chile and Beyond," at the Wharton Global Alumni Forum in Santiago.
From: September 07, 2005
Who should pay for the economic consequences of a terrorist attack in the United States? This week, the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center publishes TRIA and Beyond,
an analysis of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA), which will expire December 31, 2005, if not renewed. The Risk Center's report offers policymakers, key industry representatives and other interested parties an analysis of what roles the public and private sectors should play with respect to terrorism risk coverage in the United States.
From: September 07, 2005
While the U.S. operates the most expensive health care system in the world, its citizens are neither healthier nor live longer than citizens in other countries. In addition, while the U.S. is considered among the safest countries in the world, deaths from gunshot wounds are staggeringly high. In 2000, the U.S. recorded close to 11,000 firearm homicides. The European Union reported fewer than 1,300 firearm homicides for the same year. In Japan, the number was 22. Jean Lemaire, professor of insurance and actuarial science at Wharton, argues that these facts should be looked at in tandem. In a recent paper, Lemaire works through the medical and financial impact of firearms on American society.
From: June 15, 2005
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