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Life-Cycle Saving in the United States, 1900-90

  • Lee, Chulhee

This paper examines how the proportion of US saving that represents life-cycle accumulation changed over the last century. As individuals retire earlier and live longer than before, the expected length of male retirement has increased by more than six-fold since 1850. According to life-cycle models of saving, this means that the proportion of lifetime income saved for retirement should rise over time. I estimate that the fraction of lifetime income saved for retirement tripled between 1900 and 1990. In contrast to such an increase in the estimated retirement saving, the actual aggregate household saving rates exhibit a relatively stable long-term tendency during the 20th century. Based on this result, I argue that the relative contribution of the life-cycle saving to US wealth accumulation increased substantially, perhaps two to three times, over the last hundred years. Copyright 2001 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 47 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 165-79

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:47:y:2001:i:2:p:165-79
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