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Evaluation of Subjective Probability Distributions in the HRS

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  • Michael D. Hurd
  • Kathleen McGarry

Abstract

In the Health and Retirement Survey respondents were asked about the chances they would live to 75 or to 85, and the chances they would work after age 62 or 65. We analyze the responses to determine if they behave like probabilities, if their averages are close to average probabilities in the population, and if they have correlations with other variables that are similar to correlations with actual outcomes. We find that generally they do behave like probabilities and they do aggregate. Most remarkable, however, is that they covary with other variables in the same way actual outcomes vary with the variables. For example, smokers give lower probabilities of living to 75 than nonsmokers. We conclude that these measures of subjective probabilities have great potential use in models of intertemporal decision making under uncertainty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4560.

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Date of creation: Dec 1993
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Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources, 1995, Volume 30
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4560

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  1. Michael D. Hurd, 1993. "The Effect of Labor Market Rigidities on the Labor Force Behavior of Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 4462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Shelly Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington, Department of Economics at the University of Washington 0026, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. O. Attanasio & H. W. Hoynes, . "Differential mortality and wealth accumulation," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty 1079-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics, EconWPA 9411003, EconWPA.
  4. Li Gan & Michael Hurd & Daniel McFadden, 2003. "Individual Subjective Survival Curves," NBER Working Papers 9480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Cawley & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," NBER Working Papers 5669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paul Contoyannis & Andrea M Jones, . "Socioeconomic Status, Health and Lifestyle," Discussion Papers, Department of Economics, University of York 01/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
  7. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula & Renata Bottazzi, 2003. "Retirement Expectations and Pension Reforms," CSEF Working Papers, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy 92, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  8. Guan Gong & Anthony Webb, 2006. "Mortality Heterogeneity and The Distributional Consequences of Mandatory Annuitization," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-11, Center for Retirement Research.
  9. J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, . "Perceptions of economic vulnerability: First evidence from the survey of economic expectations," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty 1069-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  10. Aylit Tina Romm, 2012. "Retirement Date Effects on Pre-Retirement Wealth Accumulation: An Analysis of US Households," Working Papers 266, Economic Research Southern Africa.

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