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Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement

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  • Hardy Hulley
  • Rebecca Mckibbin
  • Andreas Pedersen
  • Susan Thorp

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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  • Hardy Hulley & Rebecca Mckibbin & Andreas Pedersen & Susan Thorp, 2013. "Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 31-51, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:89:y:2013:i:284:p:31-51
    DOI: 10.1111/ecor.2013.89.issue-284
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandra Spicer & Olena Stavrunova & Susan Thorp, 2016. "How Portfolios Evolve after Retirement: Evidence from Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 241-267, June.
    2. Andréasson, Johan G. & Shevchenko, Pavel V. & Novikov, Alex, 2017. "Optimal consumption, investment and housing with means-tested public pension in retirement," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 32-47.
    3. Fedor Iskhakov & Susan Thorp & Hazel Bateman, 2015. "Optimal Annuity Purchases for Australian Retirees," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 91(293), pages 139-154, June.
    4. Johan G. Andreasson & Pavel V. Shevchenko, 2016. "The 2015-2017 policy changes to the means-tests of Australian Age Pension: implication to decisions in retirement," Papers 1611.08330, arXiv.org.
    5. Adam Butt & Gaurav Khemka & Geoffrey J. Warren, 2019. "What Dividend Imputation Means for Retirement Savers," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 95(309), pages 181-199, June.
    6. Geoffrey Kingston & Susan Thorp, 2019. "Superannuation in Australia: A Survey of the Literature," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 95(308), pages 141-160, March.
    7. Kudrna, George, 2016. "Economy-wide effects of means-tested pensions: The case of Australia," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 17-29.
    8. Whelan, Stephen & Atalay, Kadir & Hayward, Richard Donald, 2018. "Asset portfolio retirement decisions: the role of the tax and transfer system," SocArXiv akj8w, Center for Open Science.
    9. Johan G. Andréasson & Pavel V. Shevchenko, 2017. "Assessment of Policy Changes to Means-Tested Age Pension Using the Expected Utility Model: Implication for Decisions in Retirement," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-21, September.
    10. Johan G. Andreasson & Pavel V. Shevchenko & Alex Novikov, 2016. "Optimal Consumption, Investment and Housing with Means-tested Public Pension in Retirement," Papers 1606.08984, arXiv.org.
    11. Anthony Asher & Ramona Meyricke & Susan Thorp & Shang Wu, 2017. "Age pensioner decumulation: Responses to incentives, uncertainty and family need," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 42(4), pages 583-607, November.
    12. Robert J. Bianchi & Michael E. Drew & Adam N. Walk & Osei K. Wiafe, 2016. "Retirement Adequacy of Indigenous Australians: A Baseline Study," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(4), pages 359-374, December.
    13. Geoffrey Kingston & Lance Fisher, 2014. "Down the Retirement Risk Zone with Gun and Camera," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 33(2), pages 153-162, June.
    14. Jinhui Zhang & Sachi Purcal & Jiaqin Wei, 2017. "Optimal Time to Enter a Retirement Village," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(1), pages 1-20, March.
    15. Gaurav Khemka & Adam Butt, 2017. "Non-Parametric Integral Estimation Using Data Clustering in Stochastic dynamic Programming: An Introduction Using Lifetime Financial Modelling," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(4), pages 1-17, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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