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A Parsimonious Model of Subjective Life Expectancy

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  • Ludwig, Alexander

    ()
    (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA) and Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Zimper, Alexander

    ()
    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

Abstract

This paper develops a theoretical model for the formation of subjective beliefs on individual survival expectations. Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) indicate that, on average, young respondents underestimate their true survival probability whereas old respondents overestimate their survival probability. Such subjective beliefs violate the rational expectations paradigm and are also not in line with the predictions of the rational Bayesian learning paradigm. We therefore introduce a model of Bayesian learning which combines rational learning with the possibility that the interpretation of new information is prone to psychological attitudes. We estimate the parameters of our theoretical model by pooling the HRS data. Despite a parsimonious parametrization we find that our model results in a remarkable fit to the average subjective beliefs expressed in the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 07-65.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 07 Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-65

Note: We thank Axel Börsch-Supan, Andrew Caplin, Mike Hurd, Jürgen Maurer, Susan Rohwedder,
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References

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  1. Alexander Zimper & Alexander Ludwig, 2009. "On attitude polarization under Bayesian learning with non-additive beliefs," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 181-212, October.
  2. Cesaltina Pacheco Pires, 2002. "A Rule For Updating Ambiguous Beliefs," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 137-152, September.
  3. Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2011. "Dynamic choice under ambiguity," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), September.
  4. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  5. Li Gan & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden, 2005. "Individual Subjective Survival Curves," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 377-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George Wu & Richard Gonzalez, 1996. "Curvature of the Probability Weighting Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(12), pages 1676-1690, December.
  7. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  8. Viscusi, W Kip, 1991. "Age Variations in Risk Perceptions and Smoking Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 577-88, November.
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  14. Zimper, Alexander, 2009. "Half empty, half full and why we can agree to disagree forever," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 283-299, August.
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  18. McFadden, Daniel L. & Bemmaor, Albert C. & Caro, Francis G. & Dominitz, Jeff & Jun, Byung-hill & Lewbel, Arthur & Matzkin, Rosa L. & Molinari, Francesca & Schwarz, Norbert & Willis, Robert J. & Winter, 2005. "Statistical analysis of choice experiments and surveys," Munich Reprints in Economics 19251, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  23. Sarin, Rakesh & Wakker, Peter P, 1998. "Revealed Likelihood and Knightian Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 223-50, July-Aug..
  24. Bleichrodt, Han & Eeckhoudt, Louis, 2006. "Survival risks, intertemporal consumption, and insurance: The case of distorted probabilities," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 335-346, April.
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  26. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Alexander Zimper & Alexander Ludwig & Max Groneck, 2012. "A Life-Cycle Consumption Model with Ambiguous Survival Beliefs," 2012 Meeting Papers 693, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2012. "What Makes Annuitization More Appealing?," NBER Chapters, in: Retirement Benefits for State and Local Employees: Designing Pension Plans for the Twenty-First Century National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alexander Ludwig & Alexander Zimper, 2013. "A decision-theoretic model of asset-price underreaction and overreaction to dividend news," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 625-665, November.
  4. De Donder Philippe & Leroux Marie-Louise, 2013. "Behavioral Biases and Long-Term Care Insurance: A Political Economy Approach," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 551-575, May.
  5. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00721281 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Thibault, Emmanuel, 2012. "Ambiguous Life Expectancy and the Demand for Annuities," IDEI Working Papers 731, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Hippolyte D'Albis & Emmanuel Thibault, 2012. "Ambiguous Life Expectancy and the Demand for Annuities," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00721281, HAL.
  8. Philippe De Donder & Marie-Louise Leroux, 2012. "Behavioral Biases and Long Term Care Annuities: A Political Economy Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 3972, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00748662 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PESTIEAU, Pierre & PONTHIERE, Grégory, . "Longevity, genes and efforts: an optimal taxation approach to prevention," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2309, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Groneck, Max & Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2013. "A Life-Cycle Model with Ambiguous Survival Beliefs," MEA discussion paper series 13270, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  12. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00748662 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Juergen Jung, 2008. "Subjective Health Expectations," Caepr Working Papers 2008-016, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.

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