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Life Insurance and Household Consumption

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  • Jay H. Hong
  • José-Víctor Ríos-Rull

Abstract

Using life insurance holdings by age, sex, and marital status, we infer how individuals value consumption in different demographic stages. We estimate equivalence scales and bequest motives simultaneously within a fully specified model where agents face US demographics and save and purchase life insurance. Our findings indicate that individuals are very caring for dependents, that economies of scale are large, that children are very costly (or yield very high marginal utility), that wives with children produce lots of home goods, and that females display habits from marriage, while men do not. These findings contrast sharply with standard equivalence scales.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.7.3701
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3701-30

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:7:p:3701-30

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.7.3701
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References

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  1. Martin Browning, 1994. "The Saving Behaviour of a Two Person Household," Department of Economics Working Papers 1994-01, McMaster University.
  2. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  3. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2003. "The Role Of Commitment In Dynamic Contracts: Evidence From Life Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 299-327, February.
  4. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  5. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  6. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, . "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Inocome," Penn CARESS Working Papers 65f9ffed93b3a872de23c94c2, Penn Economics Department.
  7. Jeremy Lise & Shannon Seitz, 2011. "Consumption Inequality and Intra-household Allocations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 328-355.
  8. Jay Hong & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Social Security, Life Insurance and Annuities for Families," 2006 Meeting Papers 410, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  10. Browning, M. & Chiappori, P.A., 1994. "Efficient Intra-Household allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," DELTA Working Papers 94-16, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  11. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2003. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000304, David K. Levine.
  12. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  13. Virginia Sanchez-Marcos & Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low, 2004. "Explaining Changes in Female Labour Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," 2004 Meeting Papers 492, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2001. "The mismatch between life insurance holdings and financial vulnerabilities: evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey," Working Paper 0109, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  15. Krusell, Per & Smith, Anthony A., 1997. "Income And Wealth Heterogeneity, Portfolio Choice, And Equilibrium Asset Returns," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 387-422, June.
  16. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2002. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 9382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Attanasio, Orazio P & Browning, Martin, 1995. "Consumption over the Life Cycle and over the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1118-37, December.
  18. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Shelly Lundberg & Richard Startz & Steven Stillman, 2001. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: A Marital Bargaining Approach," Working Papers 01-04, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  20. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2007. "Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 857-895.
  21. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "How Strong Are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 899-927, October.
  22. Lewis, Frank D, 1989. "Dependents and the Demand for Life Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 452-67, June.
  23. Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Edward C. Prescott & Terry Fitzgerald & Fernando Alvarez, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Staff Report 153, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  24. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
  25. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  26. Fischer, Stanley, 1973. "A Life Cycle Model of Life Insurance Purchases," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(1), pages 132-52, February.
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  28. Matthew S. Chambers & Don E. Schlagenhauf, 2004. "Husbands Might Really Be That Cheap," 2004 Meeting Papers 146, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jeremy Lise & Shannon Seitz, 2007. "Consumption inequality and intra-household allocations," IFS Working Papers W07/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Bick, Alexander & Choi, Sekyu, 2013. "Revisiting the effect of household size on consumption over the life-cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2998-3011.
  3. Jay Hong & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Social Security, Life Insurance and Annuities for Families," 2006 Meeting Papers 410, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. David A. Love, 2010. "The Effects of Marital Status and Children on Savings and Portfolio Choice," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 385-432, January.
  5. Bruhn, Kenneth & Steffensen, Mogens, 2011. "Household consumption, investment and life insurance," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 315-325, May.
  6. Kenichi Ueda, 2008. "Life Expectancy and Income Convergence in the World:A Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis," IMF Working Papers 08/158, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Kraft, Holger & Schendel, Lorenz S. & Steffensen, Mogens, 2014. "Life insurance demand under health shock risk," SAFE Working Paper Series 40, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.

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