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Life-cycle consumption patterns at older ages in the US and the UK: can medical expenditures explain the difference?

Author

Listed:
  • James Banks

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

  • Richard Blundell

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and IFS and UCL)

  • Peter Levell

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • James Smith

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and RAND)

Abstract

In this paper we document significantly steeper declines in nondurable expenditures in the UK compared to the US, in spite of income paths being similar. We explore several possible causes, including different employment paths, housing ownership and expenses, levels and paths of health status, and out-of -pocket medical expenditures. Among all the potential explanations considered, we find that those to do with healthcare – differences in levels, age paths, and uncertainty in medical expenses – are the main factor accounting for the steeper declines in nondurable expenses in the UK compared to the US.

Suggested Citation

  • James Banks & Richard Blundell & Peter Levell & James Smith, 2015. "Life-cycle consumption patterns at older ages in the US and the UK: can medical expenditures explain the difference?," IFS Working Papers W15/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:15/12
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William Passero & Thesia I. Garner & Clinton McCully, 2014. "Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 181-203 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Hamish Low, 2005. "Self-Insurance in a Life-Cycle Model of Labor Supply and Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 945-975, October.
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    5. Adam Bee & Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2013. "The Validity of Consumption Data: Are the Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary Surveys Informative?," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 204-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Orazio Attanasio & Luigi Pistaferri, 2014. "Consumption Inequality over the Last Half Century: Some Evidence Using the New PSID Consumption Measure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 122-126, May.
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    1. repec:eee:dyncon:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:58-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Medicaid Insurance in Old Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3480-3520, November.
    3. Timm Bönke & Markus M. Grabka & Carsten Schröder & Edward N. Wolff, 2017. "A Head-to-Head Comparison of Augmented Wealth in Germany and the United States," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 899, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Hugonnier, J. & Pelgrin, F. & St-Amour, P., 2016. "Closing Down the Shop: Optimal Health and Wealth Dynamics near the End of Life," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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