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The Effect Of Individual Retirement Accounts On Household Consumption And National Saving

  • Orazio P. Attanasio

    (University College London, IFS, and NBER)

  • Thomas DeLeire

    (University of Chicago)

A major debate exists on whether expanding tax--favoured savings accounts such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) will increase national savings. Much of the empirical debate has centred on whether IRA contributions before the Tax Reform Act of 1986 represented new savings or merely reshuffled assets. We find no evidence that households financed their IRA contributions from reductions in consumption, at least initially. We find evidence that households financed their IRA contributions from existing savings or from saving that would have been done anyway. Our results indicate that, at most, 9% of IRA contributions represented net additions to national saving. Copyright 2002 Royal Economic Society

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (July)
Pages: 504-538

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:6:p:504-538
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  1. James Banks & Sarah Smith, 1996. "Savings and wealth in the UK: evidence from micro-data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 37-64, January.
  2. Burman, Leonard E. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Ozanne, Larry, 1990. "IRAs and National Savings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 43(3), pages 259-83, September.
  3. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1996. "Rethinking Saving Incentives," Working Papers 96009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
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