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Is there a retirement consumption puzzle in Italy?

Author

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  • Raffaelle Miniaci

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Brescia University)

  • Chiara Monfardini

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Guglielmo Weber

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Padua)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the way consumption changes around retirement in Italy. Using micro data covering the 1985-96 period, we find that consumption age patterns are similar to those found in the US and other developed countries, despite the much more wide-spread cohabitation of different generations. We also document the existence of a one-off drop in consumption at retirement of the household head, as in the UK and the US, and find that consumption of work-related goods falls around retirement age and home production of food and other goods increases. Given that we can provide evidence that Italian households who retired over the sample period knew reasonably well what their pension income would be, the only reason why forward looking consumers should reduce spending around retirement is because of their increased consumption of leisure. We do find evidence that the abrupt falls in total non-durable consumption at retirement disappear when leisure is taken into account, in agreement with the predictions of the life-cycle theory. This finding is robust to the way consumption is attributed to different household members, and to exclusion of non-nuclear households from the analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Raffaelle Miniaci & Chiara Monfardini & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "Is there a retirement consumption puzzle in Italy?," IFS Working Papers W03/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:03/14
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    1. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Kapteyn, Arie, 1995. "Saving and wealth holdings of the elderly," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 293-314, September.
    2. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2000. "The dynamics of household wealth accumulation in Italy," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(2), pages 269-295, June.
    3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Growth and Saving Among Individuals and Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 212-225, May.
    4. Louise Sheiner & David N. Weil, 1992. "The Housing Wealth of the Aged," NBER Working Papers 4115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 1-29.
    6. 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 155-163, May.
    7. 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.
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