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Policy effects in hyperbolic vs. exponential models of consumption and retirement

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  • Gustman, Alan L.
  • Steinmeier, Thomas L.

Abstract

This paper constructs a structural retirement model with hyperbolic preferences and uses it to estimate the effect of several potential Social Security policy changes. Estimated effects of policies are compared using two models, one with hyperbolic preferences and one with standard exponential preferences. Sophisticated hyperbolic discounters may accumulate substantial amounts of wealth for retirement. We find it is frequently difficult to distinguish empirically between models with the two types of preferences on the basis of asset accumulation paths or consumption paths around the period of retirement. Simulations suggest that, despite the much higher initial time preference rate, individuals with hyperbolic preferences may actually value a real annuity more than individuals with exponential preferences who have accumulated roughly equal amounts of assets. This appears to be especially true for individuals with relatively high time preference rates or who have low assets for whatever reason. This affects the tradeoff between current benefits and future benefits on which many of the retirement incentives of the Social Security system rest.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 465-473

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:5:p:465-473

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

Related research

Keywords: Retirement; Saving; Structural models; Hyperbolic discounting; Social security; Pensions;

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References

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  1. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-84, May.
  2. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2011. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self‐Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 693-732, 05.
  3. van der Klaauw, Wilbert & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2008. "Social security and the retirement and savings behavior of low-income households," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 21-42, July.
  4. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2012. "Policy effects in hyperbolic vs. exponential models of consumption and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 465-473.
  5. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "Retirement and the Stock Market Bubble," NBER Working Papers 9404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2007. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 13375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  8. Hanming Fang & Yang Wang, 2010. "Estimating Dynamic Discrete Choice Models with Hyperbolic Discounting, with an Application to Mammography Decisions," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. COILE, Courtney & DIAMOND, Peter & GRUBER, Jonathan & JOUSTEN, Alain, 2000. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," CORE Discussion Papers 2000029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
  11. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Family Status Transitions, Latent Health, and the Post-Retirement Evolution of Assets," NBER Chapters, in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 23-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier, 2008. "How Changes in Social Security Affect Recent Retirement Trends," NBER Working Papers 14105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  14. Eric French, 2000. "The effects of health, wealth, and wages on labor supply and retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-00-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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Cited by:
  1. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2010. "Policy Effects in Hyperbolic vs. Exponential Models of Consumption and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 16503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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