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The Asset Cost of Poor Health

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  • Poterba, James M.

    (NBER)

  • Venti, Steven F.

    (Dartmouth College)

  • Wise, David A.

    (Harvard Kennedy School)

Abstract

This paper examines the correlation between poor health and asset accumulation for households in the first nine waves of the Health and Retirement Survey. Rather than enumerating the specific costs of poor health, such as out of pocket medical expenses or lost earnings, we estimate how the evolution of household assets is related to poor health. We construct a simple measure of health status based on the first principal component of HRS survey responses on self-reported health status, diagnoses, ADLs, IADL, and other indicators of underlying health. Our estimates suggest large and substantively important correlations between poor health and asset accumulation. We compare persons in each 1992 asset quintile who were in the top third of the 1992 distribution of latent health with those in the same 1992 asset quintile who were in the bottom third of the latent health distribution. By 2008, those in the top third of the health distribution had accumulated, on average, more than 50 percent more assets than those in the bottom third of the health distribution. This "asset cost of poor health" appears to be larger for persons with substantial 1992 asset balances than for those with lower balances.

Suggested Citation

  • Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 2011. "The Asset Cost of Poor Health," Working Paper Series rwp11-005, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp11-005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Luc Behaghel & Didier Blanchet & Muriel Roger, 2014. "Retirement, Early Retirement, and Disability: Explaining Labor Force Participation after Fifty-Five in France," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 251-284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje (Poe) Porapakkarm & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2017. "The Lifetime Costs of Bad Health," 2017 Meeting Papers 533, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
    4. Luc Behaghel & Didier Blanchet & Muriel Roger, 2014. "Retirement, Early Retirement, and Disability: Explaining Labor Force Participation after Fifty-Five in France," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 251-284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Maria Prados, 2012. "A Life Cycle Approach to the Mechanism Connecting Health Inequality and Earnings Inequality," 2012 Meeting Papers 1145, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Poterba, James & Venti, Steven & Wise, David A., 2018. "Longitudinal determinants of end-of-life wealth inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 78-88.
    7. Margherita Borella & Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French, 2018. "Who Receives Medicaid in Old Age? Rules and Reality," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(1), pages 65-93, March.
    8. Wise, David Alsgaard & Poterba, James M. & Venti, Steven F., 2011. "The Drawdown of Personal Retirement Assets," Scholarly Articles 4677548, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    9. Hendrik Jürges & Lars Thiel & Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Johannes Rausch & Morten Schuth & Axel Börsch-Supan, 2014. "Health, Financial Incentives, and Early Retirement: Microsimulation Evidence for Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 285-330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. James Banks & Elena Bassoli & Irene Mammi, 2019. "Changing Risk Preferences at Older Ages," Working Papers 2019:01, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    11. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2014. "The Nexus of Social Security Benefits, Health, and Wealth at Death," NBER Chapters, in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 159-182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Juan Carlos Conesa & Bo Li & Qian Li, 2020. "Universal Basic Income and Progressive Consumption Taxes," Department of Economics Working Papers 20-01, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    13. Ruth Hancock & Marcello Morciano & Stephen Pudney, 2019. "Public Support for Older Disabled People: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing on Receipt of Disability Benefits and Social Care Subsidy," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 40(1), pages 19-43, March.
    14. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "Health, Education, and the Postretirement Evolution of Household Assets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 297-339.
    15. Alain Jousten & Mathieu Lefebvre & Sergio Perelman, 2014. "Health Status, Disability, and Retirement Incentives in Belgium," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Disability Insurance Programs and Retirement, pages 179-209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Manuel Flores & Pilar García-Gómez & Adriaan Kalwij, 2020. "Early life circumstances and labor market outcomes over the life cycle," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 18(4), pages 449-468, December.
    17. Banks, James & Bassoli, Elena & Mammi, Irene, 2020. "Changing attitudes to risk at older ages: The role of health and other life events," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    18. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2011. "Were They Prepared for Retirement? Financial Status at Advanced Ages in the HRS and AHEAD Cohorts," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-69, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2015. "What Determines End-of-Life Assets? A Retrospective View," NBER Chapters, in: Insights in the Economics of Aging, pages 127-157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Ricardo Rodrigues & Stefania Ilinca & Andrea E. Schmidt, 2018. "Income‐rich and wealth‐poor? The impact of measures of socio‐economic status in the analysis of the distribution of long‐term care use among older people," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 637-646, March.
    21. Handy, Susan, 2020. "What California Gains from Reducing Car Dependence," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt0hk0h610, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    22. Shepherd, Dean A. & Patzelt, Holger, 2015. "The “heart” of entrepreneurship: The impact of entrepreneurial action on health and health on entrepreneurial action," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 4(C), pages 22-29.
    23. Yilmazer, Tansel & Babiarz, Patryk & Liu, Fen, 2015. "The impact of diminished housing wealth on health in the United States: Evidence from the Great Recession," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 234-241.
    24. Patryk Babiarz & Tansel Yilmazer, 2017. "The impact of adverse health events on consumption: Understanding the mediating effect of income transfers, wealth, and health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 1743-1758, December.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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