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The Poverty of Widows: Future Prospects

In: The Economics of Aging

  • Michael D. Hurd

I estimate the fraction of widows that will be in poverty by projecting the economic status, as measured in 1979, of a cohort of the elderly. The projections are based on an economic model of consumption behavior. I define and estimate a consumption-based measure of poverty status that, I believe, is more appropriate for the elderly than the usual income-based measure. According to the projections, the fraction of widows in poverty should not increase substantially as the 1979 cohort ages. However, the fraction in poverty depends critically on the definition: the differences between the consumption- and income- based measures are large. But even more important is the valuation put on Medicare/Medicaid: for two reasonable valuations, the fractions in poverty are very different.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 1989. "The Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise89-1, June.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11583.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11583
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
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    1. Michael D. Hurd & David A. Wise, 1989. "The Wealth and Poverty of Widows: Assets Before and After the Husband's Death," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 177-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1987. "Annuity Markets, Savings, and the Capital Stock," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 211-236 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
    4. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1987. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Pensions, and Individual Saving," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 175-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1984. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Pensions, and Individual Saving," NBER Working Papers 1363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, June.
    7. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
    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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