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Longevity and Aggregate Savings

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  • Eytan Sheshinski

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Abstract

Two salient features of modern economic growth are the rise in aggregate savings rates and the steady increase in life expectancy. This paper links these processes, showing that under certain conditions economic theory supports the hypothesis that increased longevity leads to higher aggregate savings in steady state. The analysis is based on a lifecycle model with uncertain longevity in which individuals choose an optimum consumption path and a retirement age. Conditions on the age-specific pattern of improvements in survival probabilities are shown to ensure that individual savings rise with longevity and that aggregation preserves this result. Population theory (Coale (1972)) is used to link the steady-state age density function and the population's growth rate to individuals' survival probabilities. The importance of a competitive annuity market in avoiding unintended bequests is underscored.

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Paper provided by The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem in its series Discussion Paper Series with number dp519.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp519

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  1. Ronald D Lee & Andrew Mason & Tim Miller, 1998. "Saving, Wealth, and Population," Working Papers 199805, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  2. Lorentzen, Peter L. & McMillan, John & Wacziarg, Romain, 2005. "Death and Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Bryan Graham, 2002. "Longevity and Life Cycle Savings," NBER Working Papers 8808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Miles, David, 1999. "Modelling the Impact of Demographic Change upon the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 1-36, January.
  6. Zilcha, Itzhak & Friedman, Joseph, 1985. "Saving behavior in retirement when life horizon is uncertain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 63-66.
  7. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2004. "To leave or not to leave: the distribution of bequest motives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. David M. Cutler, 2004. "Are the Benefits of Medicine Worth What We Pay for It? 15th Annual Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 27, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  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, 2006. "Note on Longevity and Aggregate Savings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(2), pages 353-356, 07.
  11. 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.
  12. Eytan Sheshinski, 2007. "The Economic Theory of Annuities," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8536.
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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. 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.
  3. Benjamin Wong & Kam Ki Tang, 2010. "The Ageing, Longevity and Crowding Out Effects on Private and Public Savings," CAMA Working Papers 2010-12, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  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. Antoine Bommier, 2008. "Rational Impatience ?," Working Papers hal-00441880, HAL.
  6. T. Paul Schultz, 2009. "The Gender and Generational Consquences of the Demographic Transition and Population Policy: An Assessment of the Micro and Macro Linkages," Working Papers 979, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  7. 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.
  8. Johan Fourie, 2012. "The wealth of the Cape Colony: Measurements from probate inventories," Working Papers 268, Economic Research Southern Africa.

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