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Wealth Depletion and Life-Cycle Consumption by the Elderly

In: Topics in the Economics of Aging

  • Michael D. Hurd

The objective of the work reported in this paper is to find if the consumption data from the six waves of the Retirement History Survey are consistent with the life cycle hypothesis of consumption and to test the importance of a bequest motive for saving. The 12 data items which are used cover an estimated 36% of total consumption; the most important datum is food consumption. The findings support the life cycle hypothesis: as required, measured consumption among the elderly declines with age. A test of the bequest motive for saving based on the variation by extended family stricture in consumption paths provides no support for a bequest motive.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 1992. "Topics in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise92-1.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7101.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7101
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    1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Contribution of Intergenerational Transfers to Total Wealth: A Reply," NBER Working Papers 1827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
    3. White, Betsy Buttrill, 1978. "Empirical Tests of the Life Cycle Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 547-60, September.
    4. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
    5. Andrew B. Abel, . "Operative Gift and Bequest Motives," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 09-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    6. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
    7. repec:adr:anecst:y:1988:i:9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
    9. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
    10. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    11. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
    12. Robert E. Hall & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1980. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," NBER Working Papers 0505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
    14. repec:adr:anecst:y:1988:i:9:p:10 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Ben S. Bernanke, 1984. "Permanent Income, Liquidity, and Expenditure on Automobiles: Evidence from Panel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 587-614.
    16. Edward N. Wolff, 1988. "Social Security, Pensions and the Life Cycle Accumulation of Wealth: Some Empirical Tests," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 9, pages 199-226.
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