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Consumption over the Life Cycle: The Role of Annuities

  • Gary Hansen

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Selahattin Imrohoroglu

    (University of Southern California)

We explore the quantitative implications of uncertainty about the length of life and a lack of annuity markets for life cycle consumption in a general equilibrium overlapping generations model in which markets are otherwise complete. Empirical studies find that consumption displays a hump shape over the life cycle. Our model exhibits life cycle consumption that is consistent with this pattern. Our calibrated model, which includes an unfunded social security system, displays a hump shape but the peak occurs later in the life cycle than in the data. Adding a bequest motive causes this decline to begin at a younger age. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 566-583

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-155
Contact details of provider: Postal: Marina Azzimonti, Department of Economics, Stonybrook University, 10 Nicolls Road, Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Parker, Jonathan A, 2000. "Consumption Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 2345, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1997. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
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  10. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1999. "Projected U.S. Demographics and Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 575-615, July.
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  16. Thurow, Lester C, 1969. "The Optimum Lifetime Distribution of Consumption Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 324-30, June.
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  18. Levhari, David & Mirman, Leonard J, 1977. "Savings and Consumption with an Uncertain Horizon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(2), pages 265-81, April.
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