John Scott

John Scott

  • Director
  • Retirement Savings,
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts


John Scott directs Pew's retirement savings project. The project conducts original research and works with experts and policymakers to understand what barriers to retirement savings exist in the United States; how specific policy initiatives might increase retirement savings; and whether strengthening the disclosure of fees can help employers and employees make better decisions about retirement plans.

Before joining Pew, Scott taught and conducted research on public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on issues related to aging, tax policy, and the policymaking process.  He continues to hold a research associate professorship in UNC’s Department of Public Policy. Scott also has extensive experience in retirement policy, having worked in advocacy on retirement and compensation issues in Washington. He began his career as a tax attorney and consultant in the financial services industry with a focus on pension plan design and legal compliance.

Scott holds a doctorate in sociology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Maryland, a law degree from the Pennsylvania State University, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Swarthmore College.

Recent Work

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  • Emergency Expenses Can Decimate Retirement Savings

    Many American families don’t have the liquid savings available to deal with the cost of the typical household’s most expensive financial shock—about $2,000, according to research by The Pew Charitable Trusts. And that too often means they tap tax-deferred retirement savings when faced with emergency needs. But early withdrawals from these accounts not only reduce savings and... Read More

  • Survey Looks at Barriers to Retirement Savings for Workers at Small Firms

    Americans who save for retirement do so primarily through employer-sponsored plans. That’s why having access to a savings plan and choosing to take part are so critical: Regular deductions from a worker’s pay allow for easy, habitual savings that grow over time. Policymakers looking for ways to boost retirement savings can evaluate what motivates workers to save—and what may... Read More

  • Worker Reactions to State-Sponsored Auto-IRA Programs

    To help inform policymakers, The Pew Charitable Trusts surveyed more than 900 workers without access to retirement plans at small and midsize businesses (those with five to 250 employees) to see how they perceive state-sponsored auto-IRA proposals. A series of focus groups provided additional context.  Read More

Media Contact

Esther Berg

Officer, Communications