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Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey

In: Explorations in the Economics of Aging

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  • John J. McArdle
  • James P. Smith
  • Robert Willis

Abstract

Dimensions of cognitive skills are potentially important but often neglected determinants of the central economic outcomes that shape overall well-being over the life course. There exists enormous variation among households in their rates of wealth accumulation, their holdings of financial assets, and the relative risk in their chosen asset portfolios that have proven difficult to explain by conventional demographic factors, the amount of bequests they receive or anticipating giving, and the level of economic resources of the household. These may be cognitively demanding decisions at any age but especially so at older ages. This research examines the association of cognitive skills with wealth, wealth growth, and wealth composition for people in their pre and post-retirement years.
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Suggested Citation

  • John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Robert Willis, 2011. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 209-233 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11942
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    2. Smith, J-P, 1997. "Inheritances and Bequests," Papers 97-04, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    3. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
    4. Juster, F. Thomas & Smith, James P. & Stafford, Frank, 1999. "The measurement and structure of household wealth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 253-275, June.
    5. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
    6. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    7. Smith, J.P., 1996. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Papers 96-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
    8. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, June.
    9. Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder & Robert Willis, 2008. "Preparation for Retirement, Financial Literacy and Cognitive Resources," Working Papers wp190, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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