urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Barbara Butrica

Barbara Butrica



Senior Fellow


"Much of my research involves examining how particular policies, events, or circumstances affect or might influence people's behavior and economic well-being. Although my research findings may not always be popular, I think it's important to view all sides of an issue carefully and objectively in order to understand where we are, or where we can go."

Barbara Butrica is a labor economist with expertise in aging and income dynamics. She studies issues related to the economic security of the baby boom generation, pensions, Social Security, and the engagement of older adults. Butrica has published her research in peer-reviewed journals and has written numerous research reports and briefs for general audiences. Recently, she testified before the Labor Department's Employee Retirement Income Security Act Advisory Council about ethnic and gender differences in employer-sponsored pensions.

Butrica is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. She is also an appointed member of the advisory board serving the Wider Opportunities for Women's Elder Economic Security Initiative. In addition, she sits on the advisory board for the Public Policy Committee's Gerontological Society of America's Behavioral and Social Sciences Section.

Before joining the Urban Institute, Butrica was an analyst at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, where she worked with employers to identify the best human capital practices. Before that, she was an economist at the Social Security Administration.

Areas of expertise

Social Security, older workers, old-age poverty, economic well-being of older adults, pensions, retirement savings

Selected Publications from Barbara Butrica

  • Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differentials in Employer-Sponsored Pensions Before the ERISA Advisory Council, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Understanding Early Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts
  • Will Automatic Enrollment Reduce Employer Contributions to 401(k) Plans?
  • Working for a Good Retirement
  • Publications by topic:
    Elderly
    Economic Well-being
    Retirement/Pensions
    Social Security

    See all publications by Barbara Butrica

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