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The Asset Cost of Poor Health

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  • Poterba, James
  • Venti, Steven F.
  • Wise, David Alsgaard

Abstract

This paper examines the correlation between poor health and asset accumulation for households in the first nine waves of the Health and Retirement Survey. Rather than enumerating the specific costs of poor health, such as out of pocket medical expenses or lost earnings, we estimate how the evolution of household assets is related to poor health. We construct a simple measure of health status based on the first principal component of HRS survey responses on self-reported health status, diagnoses, ADLs, IADL, and other indicators of underlying health. Our estimates suggest large and substantively important correlations between poor health and asset accumulation. We compare persons in each 1992 asset quintile who were in the top third of the 1992 distribution of latent health with those in the same 1992 asset quintile who were in the bottom third of the latent health distribution. By 2008, those in the top third of the health distribution had accumulated, on average, more than 50 percent more assets than those in the bottom third of the health distribution. This “asset cost of poor health†appears to be larger for persons with substantial 1992 asset balances than for those with lower balances.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4669670.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4669670

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  1. Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2009. "The Level and Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending," Working Papers wp218, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Family Status Transitions, Latent Health, and the Post-Retirement Evolution of Assets," NBER Chapters, in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 23-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2004. "On the distribution and dynamics of health care costs," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 705-721.
  4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Why do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," NBER Working Papers 15149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Samuel Marshall & Kathleen M. McGarry & Jonathan S. Skinner, 2010. "The Risk of Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditure at End of Life," NBER Working Papers 16170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Courtney Coile & Kevin Milligan, 2009. "How Household Portfolios Evolve After Retirement: The Effect Of Aging And Health Shocks," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 226-248, 06.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "Health, Education, and the Post-Retirement Evolution of Household Assets," NBER Working Papers 18695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maria Prados, 2012. "A Life Cycle Approach to the Mechanism Connecting Health Inequality and Earnings Inequality," 2012 Meeting Papers 1145, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," Working Paper Series rwp11-006, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Draw-down of Wealth in Retirement," NBER Working Papers 17536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and AHEAD Cohorts," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-69 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jousten, Alain & Lefèbvre, Mathieu & Perelman, Sergio, 2013. "Health Status, Disability and Retirement Incentives in Belgium," IZA Discussion Papers 7783, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2012. "The Nexus of Social Security Benefits, Health, and Wealth at Death," NBER Working Papers 18658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hendrik Jürges & Lars Thiel & Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Johannes Rausch & Morten Schuth & Axel Börsch-Supan, 2014. "Health, Financial Incentives, and Early Retirement: Micro-Simulation Evidence for Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luc Behaghel & Didier Blanchet & Muriel Roger, 2014. "Retirement, Early Retirement and Disability: Explaining Labor Force Participation after 55 in France," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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