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Rules of Thumb in Life-Cycle Saving Decisions

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  • Winter, Joachim
  • Schlafmann, Kathrin
  • Rodepeter, Ralf

Abstract

We analyse life-cycle saving decisions when households use simple heuristics, or rules of thumb, rather than solve the underlying intertemporal optimization problem. We simulate life-cycle saving decisions using three simple rules and compute utility losses relative to the solution of the optimization problem. Our simulations suggest that utility losses induced by following simple decision rules are relatively low. Moreover, the two main saving motives re ected by the canonical life-cycle model { long-run consumption smoothing and short-run insurance against income shocks { can be addressed quite well by saving rules that do not require computationally demanding tasks such as backward induction.

Suggested Citation

  • Winter, Joachim & Schlafmann, Kathrin & Rodepeter, Ralf, 2011. "Rules of Thumb in Life-Cycle Saving Decisions," Discussion Papers in Economics 12334, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:12334
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    Cited by:

    1. Binswanger, Johannes & Carman, Katherine Grace, 2012. "How real people make long-term decisions: The case of retirement preparation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 39-60.
    2. Stuart Landon and Constance Smith, 2015. "Rule-Based Resource Revenue Stabilization Funds: A Welfare Comparison," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    3. Fabio C. Bagliano & Carolina Fugazza & Giovanna Nicodano, 2014. "Optimal Life-Cycle Portfolios for Heterogeneous Workers," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 18(6), pages 2283-2323.
    4. Geert Van Campenhout, 2015. "Revaluing the Role of Parents as Financial Socialization Agents in Youth Financial Literacy Programs," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 186-222, March.
    5. Bettina Lamla, 2013. "Family background and the decision to provide for old age: a siblings approach," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 483-504, August.
    6. Larin, Alexander & Novak, Anna & Khvostova, Irina, 2013. "Consumption dynamics in Russia: Estimates on microdata," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 32(4), pages 29-44.
    7. Koehler, Derek J. & Langstaff, Jesse & Liu, Wu-Qi, 2015. "A simulated financial savings task for studying consumption and retirement decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 89-97.
    8. Määttänen, Niku & Alho, Juha, 2014. "Response to updated mortality forecasts in life cycle saving and labor supply," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1120-1127.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    saving; life-cycle models; bounded rationality; rules of thumb;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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