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Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey

In: Explorations in the Economics of Aging

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  • John J. McArdle
  • James P. Smith
  • Robert Willis

Abstract

Dimensions of cognitive skills are potentially important but often neglected determinants of the central economic outcomes that shape overall well-being over the life course. There exists enormous variation among households in their rates of wealth accumulation, their holdings of financial assets, and the relative risk in their chosen asset portfolios that have proven difficult to explain by conventional demographic factors, the amount of bequests they receive or anticipating giving, and the level of economic resources of the household. These may be cognitively demanding decisions at any age but especially so at older ages. This research examines the association of cognitive skills with wealth, wealth growth, and wealth composition for people in their pre and post-retirement years.

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This chapter was published in:

  • David A. Wise, 2011. "Explorations in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise09-2, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11942.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11942

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    1. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    2. James P. Smith, 2004. "Inheritances and Bequests," Labor and Demography, EconWPA 0408012, EconWPA.
    3. Smith, J.P., 1996. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Papers, RAND - Reprint Series 96-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
    4. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, 06.
    5. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography, EconWPA 0402010, EconWPA.
    6. Hartog,Joop & Maassen van den Brink,Henriëtte (ed.), 2007. "Human Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521873161.
    7. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
    8. Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder & Robert Willis, 2008. "Preparation for Retirement, Financial Literacy and Cognitive Resources," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp190, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    9. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004. "The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth," Labor and Demography, EconWPA 0402009, EconWPA.
    10. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
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