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Elderly Health, Housing, and Mobility

In: Advances in the Economics of Aging

  • Jonathan Feinstein

I construct dynamic economic models which focus on an elderly person's decision whether to move in response to changes in his or her health status. The models specify three health states (good, moderately disabled, and poor), three matching housing states (conventional, transitional, and institutional), and explicitly include several different kinds of mobility costs, including the direct utility costs, the indirect health effects of mobility, and, in the more complex model, financial transaction costs. The first model I present examines elderly mobility in a simple environment in which utility depends only on the match between housing and health, and a bequest. The second model extends the first to incorporate housing prices, household wealth, and elderly consumption decisions. Extensive simulations of the two models show that both predict considerable mobility, even when mobility costs are large. The results also highlight the importance of transitional housing, and provide evidence on the relationship between housing, mobility, household wealth, and consumption.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 1996. "Advances in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise96-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7329.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7329
    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: http://www.nber.orgEmail:


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    1. Jonathan Feinstein & Daniel McFadden, 1987. "The Dynamics of Housing Demand by the Elderly: Wealth, Cash Flow, and Demographic Effects," NBER Working Papers 2471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "Aging, Moving, and Housing Wealth," NBER Working Papers 2324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
    5. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "But They Don't Want to Reduce Housing Equity," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 13-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Chunrong Ai & Jonathan Feinstein & Daniel L. McFadden & Henry Pollakowski, 1990. "The Dynamics of Housing Demand by the Elderly: User Cost Effects," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 33-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Louise Sheiner & David N. Weil, 1992. "The Housing Wealth of the Aged," NBER Working Papers 4115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Torrance, George W., 1986. "Measurement of health state utilities for economic appraisal : A review," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-30, March.
    9. Alan M. Garber & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1989. "Predicting Nursing Home Utilization Among the High-Risk Elderly," NBER Working Papers 2843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jonathan S. Feinstein & Edward G. Keating, 1992. "An Economic Analysis of Life Care," NBER Working Papers 4155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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