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Does the Balance of Power Within a Family Matter? The Case of the Retirement Equity Act

  • Saku Aura

This paper studies within-family decision making regarding investment in income protection for surviving spouses. A change in US pension law (the Retirement Equity Act of 1984) is used as an instrument to derive predictions both from a simple Nash-bargaining model of the household and from the classical single-utility-function model of the household. This law change gave spouses of married pension-plan participants the right to survivor benefits unless they explicitly waived this right. The predictions of the classical model are rejected in favor of the predictions of the Nash-bargaining model in the data.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 734.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_734
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  1. Shelly Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0026, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
  3. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "How Strong are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," NBER Working Papers 2942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. K. C. Holden & S. Nicholson, . "Selection of a Joint-and-Survivor Pension," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1175-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  6. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "The adequacy of life insurance: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Working Paper 9914, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  8. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  9. Martin Browning, 1994. "The Saving Behaviour of a Two Person Household," Discussion Papers 96-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jan 1996.
  10. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  11. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  12. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Nash-Bargained Households Decisions: A Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(4), pages 791-96, November.
  14. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  15. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  16. Jeffrey Brown, 2001. "Are the Elderly Really Over-Annuitized? New Evidence on Life Insurance and Bequests," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 91-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1991. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: A Rejoinder," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 761-62, August.
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