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Does the balance of power within a family matter? The case of the Retirement Equity Act

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  • Aura, Saku

Abstract

This paper studies within-family decision making regarding investment in income protection for surviving spouses. A change in US pension law (the Retirement Equity Act of 1984) is used as an instrument to derive predictions both from a simple Nash-bargaining model of the household and from the classical single-utility-function model of the household. This law change gave spouses of married pension-plan participants the right to survivor benefits unless they explicitly waived this right. The predictions of the classical model are rejected in favor of the predictions of the Nash-bargaining model in the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2005)
Issue (Month): 9-10 (September)
Pages: 1699-1717

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:89:y:2005:i:9-10:p:1699-1717

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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References

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  1. Shelly J. Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Working Papers wp004, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  3. 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.
  4. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "The adequacy of life insurance: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Working Paper 9914, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Martin Browning, 1994. "The Saving Behaviour of a Two Person Household," Discussion Papers 96-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jan 1996.
  6. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  9. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Nash-Bargained Households Decisions: A Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(4), pages 791-96, November.
  10. Jeffrey Brown, 2001. "Are the Elderly Really Over-Annuitized? New Evidence on Life Insurance and Bequests," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 91-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Martin Browning & Pierre-Andre Chiappori, 1994. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: a General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Department of Economics Working Papers 1994-02, McMaster University.
  12. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
  13. 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.
  14. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  15. K. C. Holden & S. Nicholson, . "Selection of a Joint-and-Survivor Pension," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1175-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  16. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  17. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1991. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: A Rejoinder," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 761-62, August.
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