IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this book chapter

Investing Retirement Wealth: A Life-Cycle Model

In: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform

  • John Y. Campbell
  • João F. Cocco
  • Francisco J. Gomes
  • Pascal J. Maenhout

If household portfolios are constrained by borrowing and short-sales restrictions, or by fixed costs of participating in risky asset markets, then alternative retirement savings systems may affect household welfare by relaxing these constraints. This paper uses a calibrated partial-equilibrium model of optimal life-cycle portfolio choice to explore the empirical relevance of these issues. In a benchmark case, we find ex-ante welfare gains equivalent to a 3.7% increase in consumption from the investment of half of retirement wealth in the equity market. The main channel through which these gains are realized is that the higher average return on equities permits a lower Social Security tax rate on younger households, which helps households smooth their consumption over the life cycle. There is a smaller welfare gain of 0.5% of consumption when Social Security tax rates are held constant. We also find that realistic heterogeneity of risk aversion and labor income risk can strongly affect optimal portfolio choice over the life cycle, which provides one argument for a privatized Social Security system with an element of personal portfolio choice.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • John Y. Campbell & Martin Feldstein, 2001. "Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number camp01-1, September.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10600.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10600
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Bodie, Zvi & Merton, Robert C. & Samuelson, William F., 1992. "Labor supply flexibility and portfolio choice in a life cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 427-449.
    2. Campbell, John & Viceira, Luis, 1999. "Consumption and Portfolio Decisions When Expected Returns are Time Varying," Scholarly Articles 3163266, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 76-101, January.
    4. Constantinides, G.M. & Donalson, J.B. & Mehra, R., 1997. "Junior Can't Borrow: A New Perspective on the Equity Premium Puzzle," Papers 97-24, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
    5. Ravi Jagannathan & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Why should older people invest less in stock than younger people?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 11-23.
    6. John Y. Campbell, 1993. "Understanding Risk and Return," NBER Working Papers 4554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1996. "Asset pricing with idiosyncratic risk and overlapping generations," Economics Working Papers 405, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 1999.
    8. John Y. CAMPBELL & Luis VICEIRA, 1998. "Who Should Buy Long-Term Bonds?," FAME Research Paper Series rp5, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
    9. Attanasio, Orazio P., 1995. "The intertemporal allocation of consumption: theory and evidence," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 39-56, June.
    10. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "The Social Security Trust Fund, the Riskless Interest Rate, and Capital Accumulation," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 153-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Michael W. Brandt, 1999. "Estimating Portfolio and Consumption Choice: A Conditional Euler Equations Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1609-1645, October.
    12. Wachter, Jessica A., 2002. "Portfolio and Consumption Decisions under Mean-Reverting Returns: An Exact Solution for Complete Markets," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(01), pages 63-91, March.
    13. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Social Security Money's Worth," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-9, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    14. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
    15. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
    16. Kim, Tong Suk & Omberg, Edward, 1996. "Dynamic Nonmyopic Portfolio Behavior," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 141-61.
    17. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Human capital and capital market equilibrium," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 95-125, January.
    18. Pishke, J.S., 1992. "Individual Income, Incomplete Information and Aggregate Consumption," Papers 9238, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
    19. Gourinchas, P.O. & Parker, J.A., 1997. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Working papers 9722, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    20. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
    21. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 1996. "Precautionary portfolio behavior from a life-cycle perspective," International Finance Discussion Papers 542, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    24. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
    25. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    26. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income, and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Brennan, Michael J. & Xia, Yihong, 1998. "Resolution of a Financial Puzzle," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt5497w2bh, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
    28. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1993. "The Importance of Precautionary Motives in Explaining Individual and Aggregate Saving," NBER Working Papers 4516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. James M. Poterba & Andrew A. Samwick, 1997. "Household Portfolio Allocation Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 6185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Ravi Jagannathan & Zhenyu Wang, 1996. "The conditional CAPM and the cross-section of expected returns," Staff Report 208, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    32. Luis M. Viceira, 1999. "Optimal Portfolio Choice for Long-Horizon Investors with Nontradable Labor Income," NBER Working Papers 7409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Christopher D. Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 305-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Wachter, Jessica A., 2003. "Risk aversion and allocation to long-term bonds," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 325-333, October.
    35. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Brennan, Michael J. & Schwartz, Eduardo S. & Lagnado, Ronald, 1997. "Strategic asset allocation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(8-9), pages 1377-1403, June.
    37. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
    38. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1991. "National Saving and Economic Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern91-2, September.
    39. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    40. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10600. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.