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Heterogeneity in Preferences and Productivity – Implications for Retirement

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  • Mette Gørtz

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper discusses the determinants of the retirement decision and the implications of retirement on economic well-being. The main contribution of the paper is to formulate the role of individual heterogeneity explicitly. We argue that individual heterogeneity in 1) productivity of market work versus housework, 2) preferences for leisure compared to consumption, and 3) marginal utility of wealth, is correlated with the retirement decision. Based on US consumption and time use data for 2001 and 2003 from the Consumptions and Activities Mail Survey (CAMS), we study the patterns of individual choices of expenditure, household production and leisure for people in and around retirement. The unobserved individual heterogeneity factor is isolated by comparing cross-sectional evidence and panel data estimates of the effects of retirement on consumption and time allocation. Based on cross-section data, we can identify a difference in consumption due to retirement status, but when the panel nature of the data is exploited, the effect of retirement on consumption is small and insignificant. Moreover, the analyses point at a large positive effect of retirement on household production. Our results therefore contribute to the discussion of the so-called retirement-consumption puzzle. Many analyses of the retirement-consumption drop assume that the retirement decision is exogenous. However, the individual decision on when to retire may depend on expected changes in consumption and time allocation. This suggests that the retirement decision is endogenous. To test this, we apply an instrumental variables method in the treatment effects tradition.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/cam/wp0910/wp0406/2006-01.pdf/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics in its series CAM Working Papers with number 2006-01.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieca:2006_01

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Keywords: retirement; consumption; household production; heterogeneity;

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