IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/crr/crrwps/wp2005-14.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Retirement Consumption Conundrum: Evidence from a Consumption Survey

Author

Listed:
  • Johnathan Fisher
  • David S. Johnson
  • Joseph Marchand
  • Timothy M. Smeeding
  • Barbara Boyle Torrey

Abstract

While the life-cycle hypothesis predicts that consumption remains smooth during the transition from work into retirement, recent studies have shown that consumption declines at retirement. This empirical result has been referred to as the retirement consumption puzzle. Previous literature has most often relied on food expenditures to estimate the decline in consumption at retirement. We add to this literature by using broader definitions of consumption data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), which is a survey designed to estimate total household expenditures. We conduct cohort analysis, using data on four cohorts over 20 years from 1984 to 2003. Our results using only food expenditures are on the lower end of the distribution of existing results. As we use broader measures of consumption, our results suggest that the retirement consumption conundrum decreases by more than half. Further, another contribution of this analysis is to widen the focus of the study of the well-being of the elderly. The retirement consumption puzzle does not tell the whole story on the well-being of the elderly. While we find that consumption-expenditures decrease by about 2.5 percent when individuals retire, expenditures continue to decline at about a rate of 1 percent per year after that.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnathan Fisher & David S. Johnson & Joseph Marchand & Timothy M. Smeeding & Barbara Boyle Torrey, 2005. "The Retirement Consumption Conundrum: Evidence from a Consumption Survey," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2005-14, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2005-14
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/the-retirement-consumption-conundrum-evidence-from-a-consumption-survey/
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 2001. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth among U.S. Households?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 832-857, September.
    2. Steven J. Haider & Melvin Stephens, 2007. "Is There a Retirement-Consumption Puzzle? Evidence Using Subjective Retirement Expectations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 247-264, May.
    3. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1994. "Consumption, Needs and Inequality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(3), pages 677-703, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2005-14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Grzybowski) or (Christopher F Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/crrbcus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.