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Consumption Structure, Welfare Goods and Retirement Income: Linking the Ageing Puzzles

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  • El Mekkaoui de Freitas, Najat
  • Martins, Joaquim Oliveira

Abstract

While the empirical evidence tends to support some predictions of the life-cycle theory, a number of puzzles remain: an ageing-consumption, an ageing-saving, a saving-capitalisation and a saving-longevity puzzles have been put forward in the literature. This paper analyses the links between these puzzles and develops a model relating usual life-cycle variables, social transfers (public health care expenditures and the generosity of pension systems) to the level of savings. A reduced-form model using a panel of 18 OECD countries is tested, confirming the proposed explanations for the puzzles, together with other factors such as public deficits (Ricardian equivalence) and the population structure. We found that the relative generosity of welfare systems have a significant negative impact on household saving rate. It can also explain why the increase in longevity does not have had in general a positive impact on the household saving ratio.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/2343.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Publication status: Published in Cahiers de la Chaire "Les Particuliers face au Risques", 2008
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/2343

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Keywords: Longevity; Pensions; Savings; Ageing; Consumption;

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References

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  1. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2003. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Anticipated and Actual Declines in Spending at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 9586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2004. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 10260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  5. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2006. "The drivers of public expenditure on health and long-term care: An integrated approach," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2006(2), pages 115-154.
  6. Florian Pelgrin & Alain de Serres, 2003. "The Decline in Private Saving Rates in the 1990s in OECD Countries: How Much Can Be Explained by Non-wealth Determinants?," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2003(1), pages 117-153.
  7. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2006. "Some Answers to The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle," Working Papers 342, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  8. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Frédéric Gonand & Pablo Antolín & Christine de la Maisonneuve & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2005. "The Impact of Ageing on Demand, Factor Markets and Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 420, OECD Publishing.
  9. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Mansfield, Richard K. & Moore, Michael, 2007. "Demographic change, social security systems, and savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 92-114, January.
  10. Axel H. Boersch-Supan & Joachim K. Winter, 2001. "Population Aging, Savings Behavior and Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 8561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, octubre-d.
  12. Edwards, Sebastian, 1996. "Why are Latin America's savings rates so low? An international comparative analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 5-44, October.
  13. Chakraborty, Shankha, 2004. "Endogenous lifetime and economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 119-137, May.
  14. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Bryan Graham, 2003. "Longevity and Life-cycle Savings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 319-338, 09.
  15. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 151-64, June.
  16. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," Working Papers 97035, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  17. Bosworth, Barry & Burtless, Gary, 2004. "Pension Reform and Saving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(3), pages 703-27, September.
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