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Asset wealth and asset decumulation among households in the Retirement Survey


  • Richard Disney

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Nottingham)

  • Paul Johnson
  • Gary Stears


This paper examines the asset positions of households at and around retirement in Britain using the Retirement Survey ‘waves’ of 1988-89 and 1994. The data provide the first panel evidence on retirement behaviour and asset evolution for a sample of older households in Britain. The analysis in this paper shows the importance of housing and private pension wealth for this age-group in Britain, and also the differential wealth holdings between surviving respondents and those who died or failed to respond for other reasons in 1994. It provides some preliminary evidence as to whether households decumulate assets after retirement in accordance with the ‘textbook’ version of the Life-Cycle Hypothesis of consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Disney & Paul Johnson & Gary Stears, 1998. "Asset wealth and asset decumulation among households in the Retirement Survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(2), pages 153-174, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:19:y:1998:i:2:p:153-174

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-788, September.
    2. Mark B. Stewart, 1983. "On Least Squares Estimation when the Dependent Variable is Grouped," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 737-753.
    3. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Kapteyn, Arie, 1995. "Saving and wealth holdings of the elderly," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 293-314, September.
    4. Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Is Housing Wealth a Sideshow?," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 241-272 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1989. "Aging, Moving, and Housing Wealth," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Aging, pages 9-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
    7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1985. "Labor Compensation and the Structure of Private Pension Plans: Evidence for Contractual versus Spot Labor Markets," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 55-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Creedy, John & Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1993. "The Earnings-Related State Pension, Indexation and Lifetime Redistribution in the U.K," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(3), pages 257-278, September.
    9. Jonathan Feinstein & Daniel McFadden, 1989. "The Dynamics of Housing Demand by the Elderly: Wealth, Cash Flow, and Demographic Effects," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Aging, pages 55-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
    12. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Dissaving after Retirement: Testing the Pure Life Cycle Hypothesis," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 237-280 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Richard Disney & Thomas Gallagher & Andrew Henley, 1995. "Housing assets and savings behaviour among the elderly in Great Britain," IFS Working Papers W95/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orazio Attanasio & Carl Emmerson, 2001. "Differential mortality in the UK," IFS Working Papers W01/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Shelly J. Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1414, Econometric Society.
    3. Disney, Richard & Henley, Andrew & Stears, Gary, 2002. "Housing costs, house price shocks and savings behaviour among older households in Britain," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 607-625, September.
    4. D. Leece, 1999. "Applying data visualization and knowledge discovery in databases to segment the market for risky financial assets," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(5), pages 267-280.
    5. Whitehouse, Edward, 2000. "How Poor are the Old? A Survey of Evidence from 44 Countries," MPRA Paper 14177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2002. "Selection Effects in the United Kingdom Individual Annuities Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 28-50, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies


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