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Policy Effects in Hyperbolic vs. Exponential Models of Consumption and Retirement

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  • Alan L. Gustman
  • Thomas L. Steinmeier

Abstract

This paper constructs a structural retirement model with hyperbolic preferences and uses it to estimate the effect of several potential policy changes. Estimated effects of policies are compared under hyperbolic and standard exponential preferences. Sophisticated hyperbolic discounters may accumulate substantial amounts of wealth for retirement. We find it is frequently difficult to distinguish empirically between models with the two types of preferences on the basis of asset accumulation paths or consumption paths around the period of retirement. The simulations also suggest that, despite the much higher initial time preference rate, individuals with hyperbolic preferences may actually value a real annuity more than individuals with exponential preferences who have accumulated roughly equal amounts of assets. This appears to be especially true for individuals with relatively high time preference rates or who have low assets for whatever reason. This affects the tradeoff between current benefits and future benefits on which many of the retirement incentives of the Social Security system rest. Simulations involving increasing the early entitlement age and increasing the delayed retirement credit do not show a great deal of difference whether exponential or hyperbolic preferences are used, but simulations for eliminating the earnings test show a non-trivially greater effect when exponential preferences are used.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16503.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Publication status: published as Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2012. "Policy effects in hyperbolic vs. exponential models of consumption and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 465-473.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16503

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  1. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  2. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2009. "Time-Inconsistency And Welfare Program Participation: Evidence From The Nlsy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
  3. Courtney Coile & Peter Diamond & Jonathan Gruber & Alain Jousten, 1999. "Delays in Claiming Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2001. "The effects of health insurance and self-insurance on retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-01-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2010. "Policy Effects in Hyperbolic vs. Exponential Models of Consumption and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 16503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Hanming Fang & Yang Wang, 2010. "Estimating Dynamic Discrete Choice Models with Hyperbolic Discounting, with an Application to Mammography Decisions," NBER Working Papers 16438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1983. "A Structural Retirement Model," NBER Working Papers 1237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  10. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
  11. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier, 2008. "How Changes in Social Security Affect Recent Retirement Trends," NBER Working Papers 14105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "Retirement and the Stock Market Bubble," NBER Working Papers 9404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2012. "Policy effects in hyperbolic vs. exponential models of consumption and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 465-473.
  2. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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