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Children and Household Wealth

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  • JohnKarl Scholz

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Ananth Seshadri

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of children on consumption and wealth. To anchor intuition, we develop implications using a simple permanent income model with no uncertainty and complete markets. But this framework does not come close to matching the distribution of existing wealth. We therefore examine the effects of children using a rich, augmented life-cycle model, and using a life-cycle model with endogenous fertility. We find that children have a large effect on household’s net worth and consequently are an important factor in understanding the wealth distribution. The effects of children are much larger than the effects of asset tests associated with cash and near-cash transfers, given earnings realizations and the social security system experienced by households in the original HRS cohort. We also show that fertility and credit constraints interact in ways that significantly affect wealth accumulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp158.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp158

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  1. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1994. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mariacristina deNardi, 2000. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0547, Econometric Society.
  3. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  4. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2000. "Do the Rich Save More?," NBER Working Papers 7906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  6. Lazear, Edward P & Michael, Robert T, 1980. "Family Size and the Distribution of Real Per Capita Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 91-107, March.
  7. Erik Hurst & James P. Ziliak, 2004. "Do Welfare Asset Limits Affect Household Saving? Evidence from Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 10487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hubener, Andreas & Maurer, Raimond & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2013. "How family status and social security claiming options shape optimal life cycle portfolios," CFS Working Paper Series 2013/07, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  2. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2010. "Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models," NBER Working Papers 16596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fang Yang, 2009. "Accounting for the Heterogeneity in Retirement Wealth," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-6, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2009.
  4. Negrusa, Brighita & Oreffice, Sonia, 2010. "Sexual Orientation and Household Savings: Do Homosexual Couples Save More?," IZA Discussion Papers 4961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Jonathan Skinner, 2007. "Are You Sure You're Saving Enough for Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 12981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Elsa Fornero & Annamaria Lusardi & Chiara Monticone, 2009. "Adequacy of Saving for Old Age in Europe," CeRP Working Papers 87, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  7. Brighita Negrusa & Sonia Oreffice, 2011. "Sexual orientation and household financial decisions: evidence from couples in the United States," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 445-463, December.

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