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The Baby Boom and the Stock Market Boom

  • Kyung-Mook Lim
  • David N. Weil

This paper addresses two issues. The first is whether demographic change was plausibly responsible for the run-up in stock prices over the last decade, and whether an attempt by the baby boom cohort to cash out of its investments in the period 2010-2030 might lead to an "asset meltdown". The second issue is whether the rise in dependency that will accompany the retirement of the baby-boom cohort calls for an increase in national saving. We analyze these issues using a forward-looking macro-demographic model, and show that they are related via the existence of installation costs for capital. If such costs are sufficiently large, then demographics do have the power to affect stock prices, but "saving for America's old age" is less optimal. However, conventional estimates of capital installation costs are not large enough to explain large stock price movements in response to actual demographic change. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2003 .

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 105 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 359-378

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:105:y:2003:i:3:p:359-378
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  1. Andrew B. Abel, 2002. "The effects of a baby boom on stock prices and capital accumulation in the presence of Social Security," Working Papers 03-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Douglas W. Elmendorf & Louise M. Sheiner, 2000. "Should America Save for Its Old Age? Fiscal Policy, Population Aging, and National Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 57-74, Summer.
  3. Hubbard, R Glenn & Kashyap, Anil K, 1992. "Internal Net Worth and the Investment Process: An Application to U.S. Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 506-34, June.
  4. Weil, David N., 1993. "The economics of population aging," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 967-1014 Elsevier.
  5. Barry Bosworth & Gary Burtless, 1997. "Social Security reform in a global context," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 41(Jun), pages 243-274.
  6. N. Gregory Mankiw & David N. Weil, 1988. "The Baby Boom, The Baby Bust, and the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 2794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "Will Bequests Attenuate The Predicted Meltdown In Stock Prices When Baby Boomers Retire?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 589-595, November.
  8. Bakshi, Gurdip S & Chen, Zhiwu, 1994. "Baby Boom, Population Aging, and Capital Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(2), pages 165-202, April.
  9. Oliner, Stephen & Rudebusch, Glenn & Sichel, Daniel, 1995. "New and Old Models of Business Investment: A Comparison of Forecasting Performance," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 806-26, August.
  10. Julian L. Simon (ed.), 1997. "The economics of population," Books, Edward Elgar, volume 0, number 1076, 6.
  11. Cutler, D.M. & Poterba, J.M. & Sheiner, L.M. & Summers, L.H., 1990. "An Aging Society: Opportunity Or Challenge," Working papers 553, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Demographic Structure And Asset Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 565-584, November.
  13. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1983. "An Intertemporal Model of Saving and Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 675-92, May.
  14. repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
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