IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts: Productivity growth and Social Security

Listed author(s):
  • Kapteyn, Arie
  • Alessie, Rob
  • Lusardi, Annamaria

It is well-known that individuals born in different periods of time (cohorts or generations) exhibit different wealth accumulation paths. While previous studies have used cohort dummies to proxy for this fact, research in this area suffers from a serious identification problem, i.e., how to disentangle age, time, and cohort effects from a simple cross-section or a time series of cross-sections. Furthermore, the use of cohort dummies leaves unexplained the reasons for the differences across cohorts. In this paper, we go beyond the simple use of cohort dummies to capture the differences in wealth holdings across generations. We use basic economic theory to propose two indicators of the economic conditions under which households accumulate wealth. The first one represents productivity differences across cohorts: the aggregate level of gross national product per capita around the time the head of the household entered the labor market. The second measure summarizes the changes in Social Security during the head of household’s working life. Using panel data from the Dutch Socio-Economic Panel, we show that productivity growth can explain all the cohort effects present in income data, while productivity growth and the generosity of Social Security can explain all the cohort effects present in household net worth. Thus, cohort effects can be traced back to past economic conditions and we do not need to resort to differences in preferences or other reasons to explain the differences in wealth holdings across generations.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014-2921(03)00158-2
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 49 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5 (July)
Pages: 1361-1391

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:49:y:2005:i:5:p:1361-1391
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Kapteyn, Arie, 1995. "Saving and wealth holdings of the elderly," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 293-314, September.
  2. Michael D. Hurd, 1999. "Mortality Risk and Consumption by Couples," NBER Working Papers 7048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Verbeek, Marno & Nijman, Theo, 1992. "Testing for Selectivity Bias in Panel Data Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(3), pages 681-703, August.
  4. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Aldershof, Trea, 1997. "Income and Wealth over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(1), pages 1-32, March.
  5. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  6. Davies, J B, 1979. "On the Size Distribution of Wealth in Canada," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 25(3), pages 237-259, September.
  7. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "The Wealth of Cohorts: Retirement Saving and the Changing Assets of Older Americans," NBER Working Papers 5609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  9. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1994. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Paxson, Christina, 1996. "Saving and growth: Evidence from micro data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 255-288, February.
  11. Viard, Alan D, 1993. "The Productivity Slowdown and the Savings Shortfall: A Challenge to the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 549-563, October.
  12. Erik Hurst & Ming Ching Luoh & Frank P. Stafford, 1998. "The Wealth Dynamics of American Families, 1984-94," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 267-338.
  13. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
  14. Angus Deaton & Christina H. Paxson, 1993. "Saving, Growth, and Aging in Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 4330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Discussion Papers 96-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  16. Avery, Robert B & Elliehausen, Gregory E & Kennickell, Arthur B, 1988. "Measuring Wealth with Survey Data: An Evaluation of the 1983 Survey of Consumer Finances," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(4), pages 339-369, December.
  17. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  18. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
  19. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
  20. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1998. "Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 575-609.
  21. Orazio Attanasio, 1993. "A cohort analysis of saving behaviour by US households," IFS Working Papers W93/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  22. O. Attanasio & H. W. Hoynes, "undated". "Differential mortality and wealth accumulation," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1079-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  23. repec:ntj:journl:v:49:y:1996:i:no._2:p:151-64 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  25. Shorrocks, A F, 1975. "The Age-Wealth Relationship: A Cross-Section and Cohort Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 155-163, May.
  26. Yoram Weiss & Lee A. Lillard, 1976. "Experience, Vintage and Time Effects in the Growth of Earnings: AmericanScientists, 1960-1970," NBER Working Papers 0138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  28. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-543, May.
  29. Jappelli, Tullio, 1999. "The Age-Wealth Profile and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis: A Cohort Analysis with Time Series of Cross-Sections of Italian Households," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 57-75, March.
  30. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Testing for selectivity in panel data models," Other publications TiSEM 7ec34a6c-1d84-4052-971c-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  31. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 151-164, June.
  32. Moulton, Brent R & Randolph, William C, 1989. "Alternative Tests of the Error Components Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 685-693, May.
  33. Avery, Robert B & Kennickell, Arthur B, 1991. "Household Saving in the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 409-432, December.
  34. Kapteyn, Arie & de Vos, Klaas, 1998. "Social Security and Labor-Force Participation in the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 164-167, May.
  35. Attanasio, Orazio P., 1993. "An analysis of life-cycle accumulation of financial assets," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 323-354, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:49:y:2005:i:5:p:1361-1391. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.