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IRAs and Household Saving Revisited: Some New Evidence

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  • Orazio P. Attanasio
  • Thomas C. DeLeire

Abstract

The effectiveness of tax-favored savings accounts in raising national savings depends crucially upon the willingness of households to reduce consumption in order to finance contributions to these accounts. The debate over the tax deductibility of IRA's has centered on whether IRA contributions represented new savings or reshuffled assets. We devise a test to distinguish between these two hypotheses where we compare the behavior of households which just opened an IRA account with that of households which already had an IRA account. Our test accounts for any unobservable heterogeneity across the two groups. We find evidence that supports the view that households financed their IRA contributions primarily through reductions in their stocks of other assets. Our results indicate that less than 20% of IRA contributions represented addition to national savings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4900.

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Date of creation: Oct 1994
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4900

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References

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  1. Jane G. Gravelle, 1991. "Do Individual Retirement Accounts Increase Savings?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 133-148, Spring.
  2. Gale, William G & Scholz, John Karl, 1994. "IRAs and Household Saving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1233-60, December.
  3. Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1995. "Do 401(k) contributions crowd out other personal saving?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-32, September.
  4. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1986. "Tax-Deferred Accounts, Constrained Choice and Estimation of Individual Saving," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 579-601, August.
  5. Burman, Leonard E. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Ozanne, Larry, 1990. "IRAs and National Savings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(3), pages 259-83, September.
  6. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
  8. Bovenberg, A. Lans, 1989. "Tax Policy and National Saving in the United States: A Survey," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 123-38, June.
  9. Bovenberg, A.L., 1989. "Tax policy and national savings in the United States: A survey," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152950, Tilburg University.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1999. "Taxation and Saving," NBER Working Papers 7061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Axel Börsch-Supan, 2004. "Mind the Gap: The Effectiveness of Incentives to boost Retirement Saving in Europe," MEA discussion paper series 04052, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  4. Agar Brugiavini, 2002. "Savings: The Policy Debate in Europe," MEA discussion paper series 02018, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  5. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
  6. Axel Börsch-Supan, 2002. "What We Know and What We Do NOT Know," MEA discussion paper series 02017, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  7. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Effects of Tax-Based Saving Incentives On Saving and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 5759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.

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