About NIA



Title: Chief, Population and Social Processes Branch
Office: Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)
Phone: 301-496-3138


John W. R. Phillips is the Chief of the Population and Social Process Branch of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Behavioral and Social Research. He directs a research grant program on the causes and consequences of changes in social, demographic, economic, and health characteristics of the older population.  He also serves as the Federal Project Scientist for the U.S. Health and Retirement Study and leads the NIA initiative developing comparable health and retirement studies around the world.  Trained as a labor economist, he has published research on retirement, saving, work disability, and intergenerational resource allocation over the course of his career.  His previously held positions include serving as Director of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Policy Research, a research office focusing on financial capability and savings behavior that both conducted analyses and supported grant 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 adequacy, and intergenerational transfers.  He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Syracuse University in 1997.


  • How work and retirement influence health and well-being
  • Cross-national harmonization of longitudinal aging studies
  • Behavioral economics and financial decision making
  • Resource allocation and sharing among family members