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Longevity and Aggregate Savings

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  • Eytan Sheshinski

Abstract

For the last fifty years, countries in Asia and elsewhere have witnessed a surge in aggregate savings per capita. Some empirical studies attribute this trend to the increases in life longevity of the populations of these countries. It has been argued that the rise in savings is short-run, eventually to be dissipated by the dissaving of the elderly, whose proportion in the population rises along with longevity. This paper examines whether these conclusions are supported by economic theory. A model of life-cycle decisions with uncertain survival is used to derive individuals' consumption and chosen retirement age response to changes in longevity from which changes in individual savings are derived. Conditions on the age-profile of improvements in survival probabilities are shown to be necessary in order to predict the direction of this response. Population theory (e.g. Coale, 1952) is used to derive the steady-state population age density function, enabling the aggregation of individual response functions and a comparative steady-state analysis. Under certain conditions, increased longevity is shown to increase aggregate savings per capita. These conclusions pertain to an economy with a competitive annuity market. The absence of such market compels individuals to leave unintended bequests, whose size depends on the (random) age of death. While an increase in longevity raises individual savings for given endowments, it is shown that the effect on expected steady-state aggregate savings, taking into account the endogenous ergodic distribution of endowments, cannot be determined a-priori.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1828.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1828

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Keywords: longevity; annuities; life cycle savings; retirement age; steady-state; aggregate savings;

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References

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  1. Eytan Sheshinski, 2006. "Note on Longevity and Aggregate Savings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(2), pages 353-356, 07.
  2. Zilcha, Itzhak & Friedman, Joseph, 1985. "Saving behavior in retirement when life horizon is uncertain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 63-66.
  3. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph Lupton, 2005. "To Leave or Not To Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," NBER Working Papers 11767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Peter Lorentzen & John McMillan & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "Death and Development," 2006 Meeting Papers 61, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
  6. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Bryan Graham, 2002. "Longevity and Life Cycle Savings," NBER Working Papers 8808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Tomas J. Philipson & Gary S. Becker, 1998. "Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 551-573, June.
  8. Miles, David K, 1997. "Modelling the Impact of Demographic Change Upon the Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1762, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Kinugasa, Tomoko & Mason, Andrew, 2007. "Why Countries Become Wealthy: The Effects of Adult Longevity on Saving," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-23, January.
  10. Eytan Sheshinski, 2007. "The Economic Theory of Annuities," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8536.
  11. Ronald D Lee & Andrew Mason & Tim Miller, 1998. "Saving, Wealth, and Population," Working Papers 199805, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Gielen, Anne C., 2007. "Working Hours Flexibility and Older Workers' Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 2946, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Rick Mansfield & Michael Moore, 2006. "Demographic Change, Social Security Systems, and Savings," NBER Working Papers 12621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kam-Ki Tang & Benjamin ShiJie Wong, . "The Ageing, Longevity and Crowding Out Effects on Private and Public Savings: Evidence from Dynamic Panel Analysis," MRG Discussion Paper Series 3409, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  4. Aylit Tina Romm & Martha Wolny, 2012. "The Impact of Later Retirement Ages on Aggregate Household Savings and Saving Rates: An Analysis of OECD Countries," Working Papers 269, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  5. Schultz, T. Paul, 2009. "The Gender and Generational Consequences of the Demographic Transition and Population Policy: An Assessment of the Micro and Macro Linkages," Working Papers 71, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  6. Owen O'Donnell & Federica Teppa & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2008. "Can subjective survival expectations explain retirement behaviour?," DNB Working Papers 188, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  7. Johan Fourie, 2012. "The wealth of the Cape Colony: Measurements from probate inventories," Working Papers 268, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  8. Antoine Bommier, 2008. "Rational Impatience ?," Working Papers hal-00441880, HAL.

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