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Dissaving after Retirement: Testing the Pure Life Cycle Hypothesis

In: Issues in Pension Economics

  • B. Douglas Bernheim

In this paper, we examine several aspects of saving and dissaving after retirement. First, we argue that existing evidence on bequeathable age-wealth profiles is suspect, and provide new evidence based on longitudinal data indicating that significant dissaving may occur,particularly among single individuals and early retirees. Second, we argue that, in the presence of annuities, estimates of dissaving should be adjusted by including the simple discounted value of benefits in total wealth. Such adjustments reveal relatively little dissaving among any group of retirees. Finally, we test the pure life cycle hypothesis by observing the behavioral response of rates of accumulation to involuntary annuitization, and find empirical refutation of life cycle implications.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6861.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6861
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Atkinson, A B, 1971. "The Distribution of Wealth and the Individual Life-cycle," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 239-54, July.
    2. Ferber, Robert, et al, 1969. "Validation of a National Survey of Consumer Financial Characteristics: Savings Accounts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 436-44, November.
    3. 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.
    4. B. Douglas Bernheim & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Bequests as a Means of Payment," NBER Working Papers 1303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
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