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Mortality Risk and Consumption by Couples

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  • Michael D. Hurd

Abstract

This paper proposes and analyzes a life-cycle model of consumption by couples. The model is considerably more complicated than the standard model for singles because it has to account for the welfare of a surviving spouse. The determinants of consumption are the survival paths of each spouse, bequeathable wealth, the flow of annuities both before and after the death of one of the spouses, a motive for bequeathing at the death of the surviving spouse, and the parameters of the utility functions of the couple and of each spouse if widowed. The analysis shows how consumption and the rate of change of bequeathable wealth react to variations in these determinants, and it compares the consumption level of a single person to a couple. Summaries of wealth change and consumption in panel data are given which offer general support for the life-cycle model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7048.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7048

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  1. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  2. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
  3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "The Contribution of Intergenerational Transfers to Total Wealth: A Reply," NBER Working Papers 1827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  5. Michael D. Hurd, 1992. "Wealth Depletion and Life-Cycle Consumption by the Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Topics in the Economics of Aging, pages 135-162 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Orazio P. Attanasio & Martin Browning, 1993. "Consumption over the Life Cycle and over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 4453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, October.
  10. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith, 1999. "Anticipated and Actual Bequests," NBER Working Papers 7380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Arie Kapteyn & R. Alessie & Annamaria Lusardi, 2003. "Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts: productivity growth and social security," Working Papers 01-03, Utrecht School of Economics.
  3. Michael Hurd & James P. Smith, 2003. "Expected Bequests and Their Distribution," Working Papers 03-10, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  4. Siu Fai Leung, 2000. "Why Do Some Households Save So Little? A Rational Explanation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 771-800, October.
  5. Michael Hurd, 2003. "Are Bequests Accidental or Desired?," Working Papers 03-13, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
  7. Ernesto Villanueva, 2005. "Inter vivos transfers and bequests in three OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 505-565, 07.
  8. Shelly Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Working Papers 0026, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  9. Michael Hurd & Elaine Reardon, 2003. "Real Wealth Changes from 1982 to 1991 Among the Newly Retired," Working Papers 03-15, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  10. Michael Hurd & Arie Kapteyn, 2003. "Health, Wealth, and the Role of Institutions," Working Papers 03-09, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  11. Carlos Vidal-Melia & Ana Lejárraga-García, 2004. "The Bequest Motive And Single People’S Demand For Life Annuities," Public Economics 0405005, EconWPA.
  12. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
  13. Felix Freyland, 2005. "Household Composition and Savings: An Overview," MEA discussion paper series 05087, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  14. Jan Rouwendal, 2009. "Housing Wealth and Household Portfolios in an Ageing Society," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 1-48, March.

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