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Life Insurance and Household Consumption

Author

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  • Jay H. Hong
  • José-Víctor Ríos-Rull

Abstract

Using life insurance holdings by age, sex, and marital status, we infer how individuals value consumption in different demographic stages. We estimate equivalence scales and bequest motives simultaneously within a fully specified model where agents face US demographics and save and purchase life insurance. Our findings indicate that individuals are very caring for dependents, that economies of scale are large, that children are very costly (or yield very high marginal utility), that wives with children produce lots of home goods, and that females display habits from marriage, while men do not. These findings contrast sharply with standard equivalence scales.

Suggested Citation

  • Jay H. Hong & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2012. "Life Insurance and Household Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3701-3730, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:7:p:3701-30
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.7.3701
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Krebs & Moritz Kuhn & Mark L. J. Wright, 2015. "Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(11), pages 3223-3272, November.
    2. Jeremy Lise & Shannon Seitz, 2011. "Consumption Inequality and Intra-household Allocations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 328-355.
    3. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    4. Hong, Jay H. & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2007. "Social security, life insurance and annuities for families," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 118-140, January.
    5. Druedahl, Jeppe & Jørgensen, Thomas Høgholm, 2017. "A general endogenous grid method for multi-dimensional models with non-convexities and constraints," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 87-107.
    6. Bick, Alexander & Choi, Sekyu, 2013. "Revisiting the effect of household size on consumption over the life-cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2998-3011.
    7. Kenichi Ueda, 2008. "Life Expectancy and Income Convergence in the World; A Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis," IMF Working Papers 08/158, International Monetary Fund.
    8. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:5:p:717-746 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:bla:jrinsu:v:84:y:2017:i:4:p:1171-1202 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Thomas H. Jørgensen, 2017. "Life-Cycle Consumption and Children: Evidence from a Structural Estimation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(5), pages 717-746, October.
    11. Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis & Yu Zheng, 2017. "Why Is Food Consumption Inequality Underestimated? A Story of Vices and Children," Working Papers 969, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    12. Kraft, Holger & Schendel, Lorenz S. & Steffensen, Mogens, 2014. "Life insurance demand under health shock risk," SAFE Working Paper Series 40, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    13. David A. Love, 2010. "The Effects of Marital Status and Children on Savings and Portfolio Choice," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 385-432, January.
    14. Bruhn, Kenneth & Steffensen, Mogens, 2011. "Household consumption, investment and life insurance," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 315-325, May.
    15. Jens Kvaerner, 2016. "What Can Shocks to Life Expectancy Reveal About Bequest Motives?," 2016 Meeting Papers 1381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül ; Zheng, Yu, 2016. "Missing Consumption Inequality: Direct Evidence from Individual Food Data," Economics Working Papers ECO2016/12, European University Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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