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Does Consumption Decline at Retirement?: Evidence from Repeated Cross-Section Data for Germany

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  • Martin Beznoska
  • Viktor Steiner

Abstract

The life-cycle hypothesis implies that consumption would not decline at retirement. However, several studies found relevant declines in food consumption after retirement for the United States. Others concluded that this contradiction of the life-cycle hypothesis is solved by allowing for broader measures of consumption than food. Using repeated cross-section data for Germany, this paper analyzes the retirement consumption puzzle for the German case. For our broadest consumption measure, which includes the flow of durables' consumption, we find, on average, no significant consumption decline at retirement. This also holds if the potential endogeneity of indidual retirement is controlled for in instrumental variable regressions. We also find heterogeneity in retirement effects among birth cohorts, the level of household wealth, and the level of consumption, but these effects do not support the hypothesis that retirement is associated with a strong reduction of consumption among poorer households.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1220
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.405282.de/dp1220.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nancy D. Ruggles & Richard Ruggles, 1970. "The Design of Economic Accounts," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rugg70-1.
    2. Nancy D. Ruggles & Richard Ruggles, 1970. "Introduction to "The Design of Economic Accounts"," NBER Chapters,in: The Design of Economic Accounts, pages 1-7 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-788, September.
    4. Fisher, Jonathan D. & Johnson, David S. & Marchand, Joseph & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Torrey, Barbara Boyle, 2008. "The retirement consumption conundrum: Evidence from a consumption survey," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 482-485, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Wolfgang Franz & Viktor Steiner, 2000. "Wages in the East German Transition Process: Facts and Explanations," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(3), pages 241-269, August.
    7. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
    8. Schwerdt, Guido, 2005. "Why does consumption fall at retirement? Evidence from Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 300-305, December.
    9. Orazio Attanasio & James Banks & Matthew Wakefield, 2004. "Effectiveness of tax incentives to boost (retirement) saving: theoretical motivation and empirical evidence," IFS Working Papers W04/33, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schreiber, Sven & Beblo, Miriam, 2016. "Leisure and Housing Consumption after Retirement: New Evidence on the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145924, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Retirement consumption puzzle; life-cycle hypothesis; wealth effects; repeated cross-section data;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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