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The Poverty of Widows: Future Prospects

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  • Michael D. Hurd

Abstract

I estimate the fraction of widows that will be in poverty by projecting the economic status, as measured in 1979, of a cohort of the elderly. The projections are based on an economic model of consumption behavior. I define and estimate a consumption-based measure of poverty status that, I believe, is more appropriate for the elderly than the usual income-based measure. According to the projections, the fraction of widows in poverty should not increase substantially as the 1979 cohort ages. However, the fraction in poverty depends critically on the definition: the differences between the consumption- and income- based measures are large. But even more important is the valuation put on Medicare/Medicaid: for two reasonable valuations, the fractions in poverty are very different.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2326.

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Date of creation: Jul 1987
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Publication status: published as The Poverty of Widows: Future Prospects , Michael D. Hurd. in The Economics of Aging , Wise. 1989
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2326

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  1. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1988. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Pensions, and Individual Saving," NBER Working Papers 1363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael D. Hurd & David A. Wise, 1989. "The Wealth and Poverty of Widows: Assets Before and After the Husband's Death," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 177-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
  4. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, October.
  5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1983. "Annuity Markets, Savings, and the Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 1250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1987. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Pensions, and Individual Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 175-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
  8. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. Hurd & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Wealth and Poverty of Widows: Assets Before and After the Husband's Death," NBER Working Papers 2325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jonathan Skinner, 1993. "Is Housing Wealth a Sideshow?," NBER Working Papers 4552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David R. Weir & Robert J. Willis & Purvi A. Sevak, 2002. "The Economic Consequences of Widowhood," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp023, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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