DOL Aims For A More Advanced Research Effort

The DOL's Employee Benefit Security Administration hopes a new initiative will help it “overcome the limitations seen in existing data collection activities.”

The Department of Labor (DOL) has submitted for review by the Office of Management and Budget an information collection request titled, “On the Road to Retirement Surveys.”

Public comments on the request are invited, DOL notes, and the underlying initiative will be piloted by the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA).

As the DOL explains, “the EBSA seeks to undertake a long-term research study that will track U.S. households over several years in order to collect data and answer important research questions on how retirement planning strategies and decisions evolve over time.”

The collection “will gather data about how people make planning and financial decisions before and during retirement, especially with regard to the information that they receive and how they respond to it.

DOL and EBSA say the data collection effort is “designed to overcome the limitations seen in existing data collection activities.” Further, gaining additional insight into Americans’ decisionmaking processes and experiences will “provide policymakers and the research community with valuable information that can be used to guide future policy and research.”

The information collection request at hand seeks approval for “pre-test surveys, a screening survey, an initial participant survey, an advice interaction survey, and an annual participant survey.” Household reports on behavior and outcomes will be combined with survey responses on planning methods, strategies and financial information received to perform a cross-sectional analysis, conditional on other respondent attributes.

“The EBSA intends to use data drawn from multiple waves of various surveys to analyze how behavior evolves over time,” DOL adds, noting that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 513(a) authorizes the information collection.