The life-cycle hypothesis, fiscal policy and social security
In the early 1950s Modigliani, with Brumberg and Ando, formulated the life-cycletheory of consumption and savings that enjoyed a huge and undisputed success. But, since the early 1980s, the life-cycle theory has increasingly come under attack. One reason is the existence of an important inter-generational transmission of wealth, to be imputed to motives that are exogenous to the life-cycle model. The second reason is the growing evidence that the rich continue to save more than the less fortunate, as Keynes in fact maintained. The third reason is that there is growing evidence that young families in their twenties and thirties save a positive and increasing proportion of their income, which is in sharp contrast with the original version of the life-cycletheory. Finally, a number of empirical works have found that pensioners set aside a high proportion of their income. This requires a rethinking of the life-cycle approach.
Volume (Year): 58 (2005)
Issue (Month): 233-234 ()
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Modigliani, Franco. & Sterling, Arlie., 1981. "Determinants of private saving with special reference to the role of social security : cross country tests," Working papers 1209-81., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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Nobel Prize in Economics documents
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- Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
- Modigliani, Franco & Sterling, Arlie, 1986. "Government Debt, Government Spending and Private Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1168-79, December.
- Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Social Security and Saving: The Extended Life Cycle Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 77-86, May.
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