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The Genesis of the Golden Age - Accounting for the Rise in Health and Leisure

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Holger Strulik

    (University of Goettingen, Department of Economics)

We develop a life cycle model featuring an optimal retirement decision in the presence of physiological aging. In modeling the aging process we draw on recent advances within the fields of biology and medicine. In the model individuals decide on optimal consumption during life, the age of retirement, and (via health investments) the timing of their death. Accordingly, "years in retirement" is fully endogenously determined. Using the model we can account for the evolution of age of retirement and longevity across cohorts born between 1850 and 1940 in the US. Our analysis indicates that 2/3 of the observed increase in longevity can be accounted for by wage growth, whereas the driver behind the observed rising age of retirement appears to have been technological change in health care. Both technology and income contribute to the rise in years in retirement, but the contribution from income is slightly greater.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2012/1210.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 12-10.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1210
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  1. Strulik, Holger, 2013. "Optimal aging with uncertain death," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 160, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  2. Berndt, Ernst R. & Cutler, David M. & Frank, Richard G. & Griliches, Zvi & Newhouse, Joseph P. & Triplett, Jack E., 2000. "Medical care prices and output," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 119-180 Elsevier.
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  6. Strulik, Holger & Werner, Katharina, 2012. "Life Expectancy, Labor Supply, and Long-Run Growth: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-497, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  7. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "A positive theory of social security," Economics Working Papers 108, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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