IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Why do the elderly save? the role of medical expenses

  • Mariacristina De Nardi
  • Eric French
  • John Bailey Jones

This paper constructs a rich model of saving for retired single people. Our framework allows for bequest motives and heterogeneity in medical expenses and life expectancies. We estimate the model using AHEAD data and the method of simulated moments. The data show that out-of-pocket medical expenses rise quickly with both age and permanent income. For many elderly people the risk of living long and requiring expensive medical care is a more important driver of old age saving than the desire to leave bequests. Social insurance programs such as Medicaid rationalize the low asset holdings of the poorest. These government programs, however, also benefit the rich because they insure them against their worst nightmares about their very old age: either not being able to afford the medical care that they need, or being left destitute by huge medical bills.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/2009/wp2009_02.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-09-02.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-09-02
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 834, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690-0834

Phone: 312/322-5111
Fax: 312/322-5515
Web page: http://www.chicagofed.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/print_publication_order_form.cfm Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Shorrocks, A F, 1975. "The Age-Wealth Relationship: A Cross-Section and Cohort Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 155-63, May.
  2. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
  3. Amy Finkelstein & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2008. "What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 14089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Attanasio, Orazio P, et al, 1999. "Humps and Bumps in Lifetime Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 22-35, January.
  5. Khwaja, Ahmed, 2010. "Estimating willingness to pay for medicare using a dynamic life-cycle model of demand for health insurance," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 130-147, May.
  6. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
  7. Susann Rohwedder & Steven J. Haider & Michael Hurd, 2004. "Increases in Wealth among the Elderly in the Early 1990s: How Much is Due to Survey Design?," NBER Working Papers 10862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gourinchas, P.O. & Parker, J.A., 1997. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Working papers 9722, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  9. Rust, J., 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Working papers 9430, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-53, July.
  11. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2009. "Does Medicare Save Lives?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 597-636.
  12. David A. Love & Michael G. Palumbo & Paul A. Smith, 2008. "The Trajectory of Wealth in Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-7, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2008.
  13. Pischke, J.S., 1994. "Measurement Error and Earnings Dynamics: Some Estimates from the PSID Validation Study," Working papers 94-01, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Darrell Duffie & Kenneth J. Singleton, 1990. "Simulated Moments Estimation of Markov Models of Asset Prices," NBER Technical Working Papers 0087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2003. "The Role of Retiree Health Insurance in the Employment Behavior of Older Men," NBER Working Papers 10100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2004. "On the distribution and dynamics of health care costs," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 705-721.
  17. Amy Finkelstein & Robin McKnight, 2005. "What Did Medicare Do (And Was It Worth It)?," NBER Working Papers 11609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
  19. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Old Age Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 110-15, May.
  20. Todd Elder & Elizabeth Powers, 2006. "Public Health Insurance and SSI Program Participation Among the Aged," Working Papers wp117, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  21. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph Lupton, 2005. "To Leave or Not To Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," NBER Working Papers 11767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2006. "Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles," NBER Working Papers 12554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Davies, James B. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 2000. "The distribution of wealth," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 605-675 Elsevier.
  24. Daniel Feenberg & Jonathan Skinner, 1992. "The Risk and Duration of Catastrophic Health Care Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 4147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1994. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2004. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 10260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Joseph G. Altonji & Lewis M. Segal, 1994. "Small sample bias in GMM estimation of covariance structures," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  28. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
  29. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Orazio P. Attanasio & Carl Emmerson, 2003. "Mortality, Health Status, and Wealth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 821-850, 06.
  31. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2007. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Bequest and Precautionary Motives," NBER Working Papers 13105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Pakes, Ariel & Pollard, David, 1989. "Simulation and the Asymptotics of Optimization Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1027-57, September.
  33. Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2002. "The Importance of Bequests and Life-Cycle Saving in Capital Accumulation: A New Answer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 274-278, May.
  34. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 7140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-88, September.
  36. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2000. "Do the Rich Save More?," NBER Working Papers 7906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. K. Newey, Whitney, 1985. "Generalized method of moments specification testing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 229-256, September.
  38. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
  39. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  40. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004. "The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth," Labor and Demography 0402009, EconWPA.
  41. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses (JPE 2010) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-09-02. 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: (Bernie Flores)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.