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The Effect of Subjective Survival Probabilities on Retirement and Wealth in the United States

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  • David E. Bloom

    ()
    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • David Canning

    ()
    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Michael Moore

    ()

  • Younghwan Song

Abstract

We explore the proposition that expected longevity affects retirement decisions and accumulated wealth using micro data drawn from the Health and Retirement Study for the United States. We use data on a person’s subjective probability of survival to age 75 as a proxy for their prospective lifespan. In order to control for the presence of measurement error and focal points in responses, as well as reverse causality, we instrument subjective survival probabilities using information on current age, or age at death, of the respondent’s parents. Our estimates indicate that increased subjective probabilities of survival result in increased household wealth among couples, with no effect on the length of the working life. These findings are consistent with the view that retirement decisions are driven by institutional constraints and incentives and that a longer expected lifespan leads to increased wealth accumulation.

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File URL: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2006/PGDA_WP_17.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 1706.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:1706

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Web page: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda
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Keywords: survival; health; longevity; retirement; wealth;

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References

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  1. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & David Weil, 2010. "Mortality change, the uncertainty effect, and retirement," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 65-91, March.
  2. Kulish Mariano & Kent Christopher & Smith Kathryn, 2010. "Aging, Retirement, and Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, July.
  3. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2002. "The Effects of Subjective Survival on Retirement and Social Security Claiming," Working Papers wp021, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Bryan Graham, 2002. "Longevity and Life Cycle Savings," NBER Working Papers 8808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2000. "Retirement Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Bloom & David Canning & Rick Mansfield & Michael Moore, 2006. "Demographic Change, Social Security Systems, and Savings," PGDA Working Papers 1906, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  7. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1997. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," NBER Working Papers 6193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore & Younghwan Song, 2006. "The Effect of Subjective Survival Probabilities on Retirement and Wealth in the United States," PGDA Working Papers 1706, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  9. Ronald D Lee & Andrew Mason & Tim Miller, 1998. "Saving, Wealth, and Population," Working Papers 199805, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  10. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends and Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  11. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Aging in Taiwan," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 331-362 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1982. "Expectations, Life Expectancy, and Economic Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Nan Li & Ronald Lee, 2005. "Coherent mortality forecasts for a group of populations: An extension of the lee-carter method," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 575-594, August.
  14. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. William F. Bassett & Robin L. Lumsdaine, 2001. "Probability Limits: Are Subjective Assessments Adequately Accurate?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 327-363.
  16. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore, 2005. "The Effect of Improvements in Health and Longevity on Optimal Retirement and Saving," PGDA Working Papers 0205, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  18. Gruber, Jonathan & Wise, David, 1998. "Social Security and Retirement: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 158-63, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore & Younghwan Song, 2006. "The Effect of Subjective Survival Probabilities on Retirement and Wealth in the United States," NBER Working Papers 12688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fang, H. & Keane, M. & Khwaja, A. & Salm, M. & Silverman, D., 2007. "Testing the mechanisms of structural models: The case of the Mickey Mantle effect," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3160131, Tilburg University.
  3. Bloom, David & Canning, David, 2006. "Global Demography: Fact, Force and Future," MPRA Paper 2577, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Thomas Post & Katja Hanewald, 2010. "Stochastic Mortality, Subjective Survival Expectations, and Individual Saving Behavior," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2010-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  5. Thomas Post & Katja Hanewald, 2011. "Longevity Risk, Subjective Survival Expectations, and Individual Saving Behavior," Working Papers 201111, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
  6. Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder, 2008. "Differential Mortality in Europe and the U.S.: Estimates Based on Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Working Papers 613, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  7. David E. Bloom & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2010. "Economic Consequences of Low Fertility in Europe," PGDA Working Papers 5410, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  8. Groneck, Max & Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2013. "A Life-Cycle Model with Ambiguous Survival Beliefs," MEA discussion paper series 13270, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  9. Todd Elder, 2007. "Subjective Survival Probabilities in the Health and Retirement Study: Systematic Biases and Predictive Validity," Working Papers wp159, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  10. Alexander Zimper & Alexander Ludwig & Max Groneck, 2012. "A Life-Cycle Consumption Model with Ambiguous Survival Beliefs," 2012 Meeting Papers 693, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. 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.

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