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Leisure and Housing Consumption after Retirement: New Evidence on the Life-Cycle Hypothesis

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  • Sven Schreiber
  • Miriam Beblo

Abstract

We revisit the alleged retirement consumption puzzle. According to the life-cycle theory, foreseeable income reductions such as those around retirement should not affect consumption. However, we first recall that given higher leisure endowments after retirement, the theory does predict a fall of total market consumption expenditures. In order not to mistake this predicted drop for a puzzle we focus on housing consumption which can be plausibly regarded as complementary to leisure, and we control for the leisure change in our empirical specifications, using micro data for Germany (SOEP), where housing expenditures are observable as rents for the majority (60%), as well as dwelling relocations. We still find significant negative impacts of the retirement status on housing consumption, which is hard to reconcile with the life-cycle theory. For retirees we also find significant effects of the income reduction at retirement on housing. However, the effects are small in quantitative terms, given the lock-in nature of past housing decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Sven Schreiber & Miriam Beblo, 2016. "Leisure and Housing Consumption after Retirement: New Evidence on the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 849, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp849
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francesco Bartolucci & Valentina Nigro, 2010. "A Dynamic Model for Binary Panel Data With Unobserved Heterogeneity Admitting a √n-Consistent Conditional Estimator," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 719-733, March.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    3. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
    4. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters,in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Martin Beznoska & Viktor Steiner, 2012. "Does Consumption Decline at Retirement?: Evidence from Repeated Cross-Section Data for Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1220, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Emma Aguila & Orazio Attanasio & Costas Meghir, 2011. "Changes in Consumption at Retirement: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1094-1099, August.
    7. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, January.
    8. Sarah Smith, 2006. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle and Involuntary Early Retirement: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 130-148, March.
    9. Francesco Bartolucci† & Valentina Nigro, 2007. "A dynamic model for binary panel data with unobserved heterogeneity admitting a Vn-consistent conditional estimator," CEIS Research Paper 97, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
    10. Emma Aguila & Orazio P. Attanasio & Costas Meghir, 2008. "Changes in Consumption at Retirement," Working Papers 621, RAND Corporation.
    11. Beznoska, Martin & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Does consumption decline at retirement? Evidence from repeated cross-section data for Germany," Discussion Papers 2012/14, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumption smoothing; retirement-consumption puzzle; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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