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Capital Accumulation in an Economy with Dynasties and Uncertain Lifetimes


  • Luisa Fuster

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and University of Western Ontario)


This paper studies how the lack of an annuities market affects savings behavior and intergenerational transfers in a dynastic overlapping generations economy. I find that the answer to this question depends crucially on altruism. On the one hand, if the altruistic bequest motive is operative, then the lack of annuity markets enhances capital accumulation. On the other hand, if the altruistic bequest motive is not operative, the absence of annuity markets can either increase of decrease aggregate savings. I characterize under which conditions capital accumulation is enhanced. I also prove that an overlapping generations economy with altruism and uninsurable lifetime risk faces capital overaccumulation relative to the Modified Golden rule. The efficient allocation corresponding to the Modified Golden rule can be decentralized as a competitive equilibrium by a pay-as-you-go social security system, and this can only be done if individuals are altruistic. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Luisa Fuster, 2000. "Capital Accumulation in an Economy with Dynasties and Uncertain Lifetimes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 650-674, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:3:y:2000:i:4:p:650-674
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.1999.0086

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Huggett, 1995. "The one-sector growth model with idiosyncratic shocks," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 105, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-1097, September.
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    4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    5. 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.
    6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1989. "What Determines Savings?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262611872, January.
    7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    8. Zvi Eckstein & Martin S. Eichenbaum & Dan Peled, 1985. "The Distribution of Wealth and Welfare in the Presence of Incomplete Annuity Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(3), pages 789-806.
    9. Fernando Perera-Tallo & Hideo Konishi, 1997. "Existence of steady - state equium in an overlapping-generations model with production (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 9(3), pages 529-537.
    10. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-154.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
    2. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2010. "Inequality and Markets: Some Implications of Occupational Diversity," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 38-76, November.
    3. Zaigui Yang, 2016. "Population Aging And Public Pension: The Case Of Beijing Analyzed By An Olg Model," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(04), pages 1-14, September.
    4. Seghir, Abdelkrim & Salem, Sherif, 2010. "In nitely-lived agents via two-sided altruism," MPRA Paper 31379, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Laps, Jochen, 2015. "Fully Funded Social Security Pensions, Lifetime Risk and Income," Working Papers 0603, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    6. Ana I. Moro-Egido, 2004. "Educational System, Altruism and Inequality in the Distribution of Income," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/46, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    7. Abdelkrim Seghir & Juan Torres-Martínez, 2008. "Wealth transfers and the role of collateral when lifetimes are uncertain," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 36(3), pages 471-502, September.
    8. Sven H. Sinclair & Kent A. Smetters, 2004. "Health Shocks and the Demand for Annuities: Technical Paper 2004-09," Working Papers 15868, Congressional Budget Office.
    9. Francis, Johanna L., 2009. "Wealth and the capitalist spirit," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 394-408, September.
    10. Andres Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2006. "On the aggregate and distributional implications of productivity differences across countries," Working Paper 06-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    11. Yang Zaigui, 2008. "Population Growth Rate, Life Expectancy and Pension Program Improvement in China," Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-13, March.
    12. Dilip Mookherjee & debraj Ray, 2005. "Occupational Diversity and Endogenous Inequality," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-142, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    13. Jess Benhabib & Shenghao Zhu, 2008. "Age, Luck, and Inheritance," NBER Working Papers 14128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Nicolas Drouhin, 2001. "Lifetime Uncertainty and Time Preference," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 145-172, December.
    15. Emmanuel Thibault, 2008. "Dynamic efficiency and intergenerational altruism," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 679-687, July.


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