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Does health affect portfolio choice?

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  • Paul Smith
  • David Love

Abstract

Previous studies find a strong and positive empirical connection between health status and the share of risky assets held in household portfolios. But is this relationship truly causal, in the sense that households respond to changes in health by altering their portfolio allocation, or does it simply reflect unobserved differences across households? We find that most of the variation by health is on the extensive margin of stock ownership (rather than the marginal allocation conditional on ownership), which more plausibly points to non-causal explanations. Moreover, we find that any link between health and risky assets depends crucially on the econometric treatment of unobserved heterogeneity. Once we account adequately for unobserved household differences, there is no longer a statistically significant relationship between any of our health measures and household portfolio decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-45.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-45

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Keywords: Households - Economic aspects ; Portfolio management;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Vincenzo Atella & Marianna Brunetti & Nicole Maestas, 2011. "Household Portfolio Choices, Health status and Health Care Systems A Cross-Country Analysis Based on SHARE," CEIS Research Paper 183, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 21 Jan 2011.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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