Awards

The TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security

Ralph S.J. Koijen, The University of Chicago, and Stijn G. Van Nieuwerburgh, Columbia University, won the 2020 TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security for their paper “Combining Life and Health Insurance,” published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 135, Issue 2, May 2020, Pages 913–958.

Rapid medical advances over the past two decades have produced new treatments that result in significant and durable improvements in survival for patients with life-threatening illnesses. A major drawback, however, is that many of the new life-extending treatments are expensive. This paper identifies a new mechanism to ensure stress-free access to medical treatments that result in durable survival by involving life insurance companies. Life insurance policyholders benefit from the ability to finance medical care, and life insurance companies benefit from increased future premiums via longer-lived policyholders and a death benefit pushed further into the future.

According to Julie Agnew, one of the Samuelson Award judges, “It is not only the authors’ rigorous and detailed analyses that make this paper stand out, but the care the authors take to seek out and incorporate feedback from industry leaders to ensure their recommendations are practical and actionable.”

“I am grateful for this recognition and hope that our insights lead to financial innovation that improves the health and wellbeing of households," said Dr. Koijen. “Our work suggests life insurers have an incentive to help their policyholders achieve longer and healthier lives,” added Dr. Van Nieuwerburgh. “We predict that boundaries between life and health insurance industries will erode to the benefit of society."

Named in honor of the late Nobel Prize winner and former CREF trustee, the TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security is given annually by the TIAA Institute to recognize an outstanding research publication that helps advance Americans’ lifelong financial well-being. A panel of distinguished judges selects the award recipient and the TIAA Institute announces the winner each year during the annual meeting of the Allied Social Sciences Associations.

Previous Winners

The TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education

Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas College, and Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, were both named winners of the 2020 TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education. The independent panel of judges selected these leaders for the profound impact they have had at their respective institutions.

For the past 25 years, Shirley Reed has served as founding president of South Texas College (STC). Under her leadership, STC has become a nationally recognized community college with over 33,000 credit students each semester and a faculty and staff of more than 2,700. The college also has had a transformative effect on the largely Hispanic community it serves along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under President Aoun, Northeastern University has reached the upper echelons of higher education, professional learning and funded research. Through his leadership, the university has tripled external research funding, increased graduate program enrollment, and revolutionized its signature co-op program, turning it into a holistic learning experience that touches every facet of a student’s education.

The Hesburgh Award is named in honor of the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., past president of the University of Notre Dame and longtime member of the TIAA and CREF Boards of Overseers. A world-renowned educator and humanitarian, Father Hesburgh (1917-2015) was a lifelong champion of human rights, the cause of peace, and care for the poor. He received both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Sponsored by the TIAA Institute and administered by the American Council on Education, the Hesburgh Award is given to a current college or university president or chancellor who embodies Father Hesburgh’s commitment to higher education and society at large. 

Previous Winners