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Does health affect portfolio choice?

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  • David A. Love
  • Paul A. Smith

Abstract

A number of recent studies find that poor health is empirically associated with a safer portfolio allocation. It is difficult to say, however, whether this relationship is truly causal. Both health status and portfolio choice are influenced by unobserved characteristics such as risk attitudes, impatience, information, and motivation, and these unobserved factors, if not adequately controlled for, can induce significant bias in the estimates of asset demand equations. Using the 1992–2006 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, we investigate how much of the connection between health and portfolio choice is causal and how much is due to the effects of unobserved heterogeneity. Accounting for unobserved heterogeneity with fixed effects and correlated random effects models, we find that health does not appear to significantly affect portfolio choice among single households. For married households, we find a small effect (about 2–3 percentage points) from being in the lowest of five self-reported health categories. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 1441-1460

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:12:p:1441-1460

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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Keywords: household portfolios ; health ; risk ;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Fan, Elliott & Zhao, Ruoyun, 2009. "Health status and portfolio choice: Causality or heterogeneity?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1079-1088, June.
  2. James Enright & Grant M Scobie, 2010. "Healthy, Wealthy and Working: Retirement Decisions of Older New Zealanders," Treasury Working Paper Series 10/02, New Zealand Treasury.
  3. Maude Toussaint-Comeau & Jonathan Hartley, 2009. "Health and the savings of insured versus uninsured, working-age households in the U.S," Working Paper Series WP-09-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Schendel, Lorenz S., 2014. "Critical illness insurance in life cycle portfolio problems," SAFE Working Paper Series 44, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
  5. Atella, Vincenzo & Brunetti, Marianna & Maestas, Nicole, 2012. "Household portfolio choices, health status and health care systems: A cross-country analysis based on SHARE," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1320-1335.
  6. Julien Hugonnier & Florian Pelgrin & Pascal St-Amour, 2010. "A structural analysis of the health expenditures and portfolio choices of retired agents," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 10-29, Swiss Finance Institute.

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