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The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Actual Spending Change in Panel Data

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  • Michael Hurd
  • Susann Rohwedder

Abstract

The simple one-good model of life-cycle consumption requires that consumption be continuous over retirement; yet prior research based on partial measures of consumption or on synthetic panels indicates that spending drops at retirement, a result that has been called the retirement-consumption puzzle. Using panel data on total spending, nondurable spending and food spending, the authors find that spending declines at small rates over retirement, at rates that could be explained by mechanisms such as the cessation of work-related expenses, unexpected retirement due to a health shock or by the substitution of time for spending. In the low-wealth population where spending did decline at higher rates, the main explanation for the decline appears to be a high rate of early retirement due to poor health. They conclude that at the population level there is no retirement-consumption puzzle in their data, and that in subpopulations where there were substantial declines, conventional economic theory can provide the main explanation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 563.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:563

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Keywords: retirees-economic conditions; retirement-economic aspects; consumption; panel data;

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References

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  1. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Agar Brugiavini & Erich Battistin, & Enrico Rettore & Guglielmo Weber, 2007. "The Retirement Consumption Puzzle: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach," Working Papers 2007_27, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The Retirement Consumption Puzzle: Actual Spending Change in Panel Data
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-08-07 15:54:00
  2. The crisis, and Nudge
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-09-22 15:00:32
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Cited by:
  1. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nicolas Moreau & Elena Stancanelli, 2013. "Household Consumption at Retirement: A Regression Discontinuity Study on French Data," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00881215, HAL.
  3. Carlo Mazzaferro & Marcello Morciano & Elena Pisano & Simone Tedeschi, 2010. "The Introduction of a Private Wealth Module in CAPP_DYN: an Overview," Department of Economics 0630, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  4. Jang, Bong-Gyu & Park, Seyoung & Rhee, Yuna, 2013. "Optimal retirement with unemployment risks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3585-3604.
  5. Simone Tedeschi & Elena Pisano & Carlo Mazzaferro & Marcello Morciano, 2013. "Modelling Private Wealth Accumulation and Spend-down in the Italian Microsimulation Model CAPP_DYN: A Life-Cycle Approach," International Journal of Microsimulation, Interational Microsimulation Association, vol. 6(2), pages 76-122.
  6. Stephens, Melvin & Unayama, Takashi, 2012. "The impact of retirement on household consumption in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 62-83.
  7. Eichhorst, Werner & Gerard, Maarten & Kendzia, Michael J. & Mayrhuber, Christine & Nielsen, Conny & Rünstler, Gerhard & Url, Thomas, 2011. "Report No. 42: Pension Systems in the EU – Contingent Liabilities and Assets in the Public and Private Sector," IZA Research Reports 42, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Robert Hauser & David Weir, 2010. "Recent developments in longitudinal studies of aging in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages S111-S130, March.
  9. Yingying Dong, 2012. "Regression Discontinuity Applications with Rounding Errors in the Running Variable," Working Papers 111206, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  10. Raffaele Miniaci & Chiara Monfardini & Guglielmo Weber, 2010. "How does consumption change upon retirement?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 257-280, April.
  11. Nicolas Moreau & Elena Stancanelli, 2013. "Household Consumption at Retirement: A Regression Discontinuity Study on French," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13072, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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