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Wealth Depletion and Life Cycle Consumption by the Elderly

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  • Michael D. Hurd

Abstract

The objective of the work reported in this paper is to find if the consumption data from the six waves of the Retirement History Survey are consistent with the life cycle hypothesis of consumption and to test the importance of a bequest motive for saving. The 12 data items which are used cover an estimated 36% of total consumption; the most important datum is food consumption. The findings support the life cycle hypothesis: as required, measured consumption among the elderly declines with age. A test of the bequest motive for saving based on the variation by extended family stricture in consumption paths provides no support for a bequest motive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3472.

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Date of creation: Oct 1990
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Publication status: published as David A. Wise, editor. Topics in the Economics of Aging. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, pp. 135-162, April 1992.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3472

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  1. 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.
  2. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
  3. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
  4. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
  5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Contribution of Intergenerational Transfers to Total Wealth: A Reply," NBER Working Papers 1827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
  7. White, Betsy Buttrill, 1978. "Empirical Tests of the Life Cycle Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 547-60, September.
  8. Edward N. WOLFF, 1988. "Social Security, Pensions and the Life Cycle Accumulation of Wealth: Some Empirical Tests," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 9, pages 199-226.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. Hurd, 1999. "Mortality Risk and Consumption by Couples," Working Papers 99-03, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Steven J. Haider & Melvin Stephens, 2007. "Is There a Retirement-Consumption Puzzle? Evidence Using Subjective Retirement Expectations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 247-264, May.
  3. Michael D. Hurd, 1993. "The Effects of Demographic Trends on Consumption, Saving and Government Expenditures in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 4601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robin Boadway & David Wildasin, 1994. "Taxation and savings: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 19-63, August.
  5. Michael D. Hurd & Daniel McFadden & Angela Merrill, 2001. "Predictors of Mortality among the Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 171-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael Hurd & Daniel McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2000. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Socioeconomic Status and Morbidity/Mortality," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1887, Econometric Society.
  7. Barry P. Bosworth & Ralph C. Bryant & Gary Burtless, 2004. "The Impact of Aging on Financial Markets and the Economy: A Survey," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-23, Center for Retirement Research.

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