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Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations


  • Modigliani, Franco


This paper provides a review of the theory of the determinants of individual and national thrift that has come to be known as the Life Cycle Hypothesis (LCH) of saving. Applications to some current policy issues are also discussed. Part I deals with the state of the art on the eve of the formulation of the LCH some 30 years ago. Part II sets forth the theoretical foundations of the model in its original formulation and later amendment, calling attention to various implications, distinctive to it and, sometimes, counter-intuitive. It also includes a review of a number of crucial empirical tests, both at the individual and the aggregate level. Part III reviews some applications of LCH to current policy issues, though only in sketchy fashion, as space constraints prevent fuller discussion.
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Suggested Citation

  • Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:76:y:1986:i:3:p:297-313

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clarke, Darral G & Dolan, Robert J, 1984. "A Simulation Analysis of Alternative Pricing Strategies for Dynamic Environments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 179-200, January.
    2. Sanford J. Grossman & Richard E. Kihlstrom & Leonard J. Mirman, 1977. "A Bayesian Approach to the Production of Information and Learning By Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 533-547.
    3. Robert B. Wilson, 1967. "Competitive Bidding with Asymmetric Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(11), pages 816-820, July.
    4. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    5. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    6. Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Optimal Auction Design," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 6(1), pages 58-73, February.
    7. Nancy L. Stokey, 1981. "Rational Expectations and Durable Goods Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 112-128, Spring.
    8. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, March.
    9. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "A Theory of Monopoly Pricing Schemes with Demand Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 347-365, June.
    10. A. M. Spence, 1981. "The Learning Curve and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(1), pages 49-70, Spring.
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    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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