Professor Blau is a labor and population economist with research interests in the economics of aging and in the economics of the family. He has extensive experience analyzing retirement behavior, including studies of the dynamics of retirement, joint retirement of married couples, the effect of health insurance on retirement, the effect of recent Social Security policy reforms on retirement, and the effects of pensions on saving and retirement. One of his recent publications, “Can Social Security Explain Trends in Labor Force Participation of Older Men in the United states,” (with Ryan Goodstein) provides an in-depth analysis of long run trends in labor force behavior at older ages. He is working now to substantially extend this analysis by incorporating younger age groups, women, and Disability Insurance. In a recently completed paper, “Pensions, Household Saving, and Welfare: A Dynamic Analysis,” he developed a model that focused on the effects of pensions on saving and retirement. Another recently completed paper (with Luc Behaghel) on “Framing Social Security Reform: Behavioral Responses to Changes in the Full Retirement Age” studies the impact of the increase in the Social Security Full Retirement Age on the hazard rates of benefit claiming and labor force exit at age 65. A project in progress (with Ryan Goodstein) analyzes the impact of household wealth on labor force participation decisions.
His research on the family includes many studies of the market for child care, including the effect of the cost of child care on labor force participation of mothers, the demand for and supply of quality in child care, and the impact of child care subsidies and regulations on child care demand, employment, and welfare participation. His book, The Child Care Problem: An Economic Analysis, was published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2001. His current research on children analyzes the demographic, economic, and policy determinants of the family structure experiences of children, and the impact of family structure and parental time allocation on child outcomes.
He teaches graduate labor economics, focusing on labor supply, including retirement, and the economics of the family. He also teaches undergraduate intermediate microeconomics.