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Population Age Structure, Intergenerational Transfer, and Wealth: A New Approach, with Applications to the United States


  • Ronald D. Lee


Resources are reallocated across age and time by means of capital accumulation, credit transactions, and transfers. Each takes place through three channels: the family, financial markets, and public sector programs. These age-specific flows give rise to stocks of age-specific wealth. Weighting by population age distribution and summing yields aggregate wealth, which equals capital plus transfer wealth; the aggregate credit balance must be zero. Forms of aggregate wealth are related to properties of the macroeconomy. A framework is developed for relating flows to stocks. Flows and stocks for the United States in 1987 are analyzed by applying this framework to the 1987 CES. For example, the average household has about 100K in federal transfer wealth, a debt of 15K in state/local wealth, and a debt of 10K in interhousehold family transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald D. Lee, 1994. "Population Age Structure, Intergenerational Transfer, and Wealth: A New Approach, with Applications to the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1027-1063.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:29:y:1994:4:1:p:1027-1063

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-799, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2006. "Altruism, exchange or indirect reciprocity: what do the data on family transfers show?," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    2. Sang-Hyop Lee & Jungsuk Kim & Donghyun Park, 2016. "Demographic Change and Fiscal Sustainability in Asia," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1602, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
    3. repec:eee:joecag:v:5:y:2015:i:c:p:98-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gál, Róbert Iván & Szabó, Endre & Vargha, Lili, 2015. "A láthatatlan transzferek korprofilja. Az aszimmetria valódi mértéke a korosztályok közötti erőforrás-átcsoportosítás rendszerében
      [The age profile of invisible transfers: the true degree of asymme
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(6), pages 621-637.
    5. repec:eee:joecag:v:8:y:2016:i:c:p:5-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gál, Róbert Iván & Vanhuysse, Pieter & Vargha, Lili, 2016. "Pro-elderly welfare states within pro-child societies : Incorporating family cash and time into intergenerational transfers analysis," CEI Working Paper Series 2016-6, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. Lee, R., 2016. "Macroeconomics, Aging, and Growth," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
    8. Attiat Ott, 2013. "The Rate of Return to Aging: A Capital Stock Accounting," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 19(4), pages 355-366, November.
    9. Metzger, Christoph, 2016. "The German statutory pension scheme: Balance sheet, cross-sectional internal rates of return and implicit tax rates," FZG Discussion Papers 63, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    10. Lili Vargha & Róbert Iván Gál & Michelle O. Crosby-Nagy, 2017. "Household production and consumption over the life cycle: National Time Transfer Accounts in 14 European countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(32), pages 905-944, March.
    11. Lam, David, 2006. "The demography of youth in developing countries and its economic implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4022, The World Bank.

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