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Pensions for Singles and Couples

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  • Bruce Bradbury

Abstract

type="main"> Retirement policies often seek to set pensions at levels that enable single and married pensioners to have the same standard of living. The existing literature on consumer equivalence scales provides little assistance in reaching this policy objective, as the estimated scales are both imprecise and reliant upon strong and opaque assumptions. This paper proposes an alternative modeling strategy which has low data requirements and involves the use of detailed, but transparent, assumptions about the extent of joint consumption of particular commodities. These assumptions are embedded in an economic model of household consumption and combined with household expenditure data to calculate consumer equivalence scales. It is estimated that, in 2003–04, Australian couples of Age Pension age who owned their own home needed expenditures between 1.32 and 1.60 times that of a single person. These scales were lower than those used in the pension system.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Bradbury, 2014. "Pensions for Singles and Couples," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 480-498, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:60:y:2014:i:3:p:480-498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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