Academic Researchers

Conducting and sponsoring rigorous academic research since 1998

With a team of economists and program staff, Fellows and strategic partners, the Institute conducts research and organizes convenings on critical issues related to financial security, higher education and endowments and foundations.

Academic Researchers

Initiatives to advance the academic community

The Institute provides an environment in which academic researchers can exchange ideas and expand their reach to affect public policy. Leaders use the knowledge provided by the Institute to make better-informed decisions.

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Institute Fellows are nationally recognized thought leaders and prominent scholars, experienced in matters of importance to TIAA and those we serve. These experts extend our knowledge, skills and reach, and advance our thought leadership. Fellows have conducted more than 100 Institute-sponsored research studies.

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The TIAA Institute supports original research and thought leadership through its grants program. Leading scholars are encouraged to submit innovative research ideas on financial security, higher education and endowments and foundations. The TIAA Institute, with the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, funds high-quality, cutting-edge research on retirement policy and practice.

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The Institute’s signature award programs are designed to advance knowledge and recognize leadership excellence. The TIAA Paul A. Samuelson Award For Outstanding Scholarly Writing On Lifelong Financial Security recognizes an outstanding research publication that helps advance Americans’ lifelong financial well-being. The TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education recognizes a current higher education leader for commitment to higher education, leadership and contributions to the greater good.

Latest Research Reports

June 2019

Finance theory assumes that investors maximize risk-adjusted returns when choosing portfolios. In reality, some people are also influenced by irrelevant factors, such as cosmetic changes to investment fund names.

June 2019

Opportunities to borrow increased considerably in the U.S. over the past few decades, and many Americans today are approaching retirement with high levels of debt.

June 2019

When making financial decisions under uncertain conditions, do people actually behave as widely used theories predict?

June 2019

The past several decades have seen major changes in the nature of retirement benefits for workers, including pension programs for public-sector employees.

April 2019

U.S. colleges and universities hold more than $500 billion in endowment assets, but many people have a poor grasp of these assets’ purpose and value.

March 2019

In an era of declining public funding, private philanthropy has played an increasingly vital role for both public and private institutions.