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Means-Tested Income Support, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement

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Abstract

We investigate the impact of means tested public income transfers on post-retirement decumulation and portfolio choice using theoretical simulations and panel data on Australian Age Pensioners. Means tested public pension payments in Australia have broad coverage and give insight into the incentive responsiveness of well-off, as well as poorer households. Via numerical solutions to a discrete time, finite horizon dynamic programming problem, we simulate the optimal consumption and portfolio allocation strategies for a retired household subject to assets and income tests. Relative to benchmark, means tested households should optimally decumulate faster early in retirement, and choose more risky portfolios. Panel data tests on inferred wealth for pensioner households show evidence of more rapid spending early in retirement. However they also show that better-off households continue to accumulate, even when facing a steeper implicit tax rate on wealth than applies to poorer households. Wealthier households also hold riskier portfolios. Results from tests for Lorenz dominance of the panel wealth distribution show no decrease in wealth inequality over the five years of the study.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney in its series Research Paper Series with number 248.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uts:rpaper:248

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Keywords: retirement wealth; life-cycle saving; public pension; portfolio choice;

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  1. Konstantin Petrichev & Susan Thorp, 2007. "The Private Value of Public Pensions," Research Paper Series 211, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
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  14. Stephen G. Donald & Garry F. Barrett, 2004. "Consistent Nonparametric Tests for Lorenz Dominance," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 321, Econometric Society.
  15. Neumark, David & Powers, Elizabeth, 2000. "Welfare for the elderly: the effects of SSI on pre-retirement labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 51-80, October.
  16. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Public Pension Promises," NBER Working Papers 14343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hazel Bateman & Susan Thorp, 2007. "Choices and constraints over retirement income streams: comparing rules and regulations," Discussion Papers 2007-29, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  18. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
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  20. Sheetal K. Chand & Albert Jaeger, 1996. "Aging Populations and Public Pension Schemes," IMF Occasional Papers 147, International Monetary Fund.
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