Hazel Bateman, new Chair of Netspar’s Scientific Council
“Strengthening international cooperation had great added value”
Hazel Bateman has been associated with Netspar as a researcher for ten years. For the past five years, she contributed to the assessment of research proposals as a member of Netspar’s Scientific Council.
This year, she was appointed chair: “The scientific council plays an important role in ensuring the academic quality and relevance of the research program. This is of great importance and will continue to be a priority. In addition, I would like to help Netspar expand its international research networks and enhance collaborations between Netspar researchers and the global research community.”
“Although the institutional settings for pensions and social security may differ, the challenges and research questions facing countries are often quite similar. This is particularly so in the wake of COVID-19 which has compounded the previous issues of population ageing, low interest rates and unsustainable public pensions and added further concerns with contribution holidays and early access to preserved benefits. Research organizations like Netspar, or my home organization CEPAR in Australia, can play a key role to connect researchers at all levels, from PhD students and post docs to professors with similar research interests to work on such issues of both local and global relevance. The International Pension Workshop, for example, provides a unique opportunity to share new research, to network and to build relationships with researchers from all over the world.”
A world of pension research
Netspar is one of four founding organizations, with CEPAR, the Pension Research Council and the OECD, of the recently established International Pension Research Association IPRA, of which Hazel Bateman is inaugural President. “The aim of IPRA is to improve the quality and impact of global research on pensions and age-related issues to optimize social and economic outcomes for an ageing world. Unlike Australia, the Netherlands, and the US many countries have small and disparate research communities. Our goal is to enhance accessibility to the world’s best pension researchers and to develop and support global research communities particularly in the less developed world. The fact that digitization is now – out of necessity – taking off offers great opportunities in my view. Research meetings with participants from 100 or more different countries are suddenly no longer unthinkable. ”
About Hazel Bateman
Hazel Bateman is a Professor in the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies at UNSW Business School and Deputy Director and a Chief Investigator at CEPAR. She is also inaugural President of the International Pensions Research Association (IPRA), which was established in 2020.
As an economist with an interest in pensions, Hazel’s research focuses on lifetime financial decision making. “I am particularly interested in working out how to help people make the best possible financial decisions as they save for and transition to retirement. Using a combination of life cycle models, online experimental surveys and analysis of pension fund member data I explore alternative strategies to help people with complex financial decisions. These include defaults and other nudges, prescribed financial product disclosure, enhancing financial literacy and product knowledge, guidance such as benefit projections on member statements and formal financial advice. From an initial focus on pensions my research agenda has expanded considerably in recent years to include housing investment decisions, reverse mortgages, and long-term care insurance. ”