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Wealth Accumulation of US Households: What Do We Learn from the SIPP Data?

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  • Vincent Hildebrand

Abstract

In this paper, I estimate, for US households, age-wealth profiles which allow for cohort effects. I use these to reexamine one of the central empirical propositions of simple life-cycle models: dissaving after retirement. The analysis employs a data set which has not been previously examined in this way: the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The main regression results suggest that elderly households do not dissave after retirement. However, an examination of the distribution of wealth at retirement reveals that most households have accumulated very little wealth from which to dissave. Given that about 40% of households are not covered by any occupational pension, social security payments are the main source of retirement income for a large number of households. Even more than the absence of post-retirement dissaving, it is this overall lack of pre-retirement saving which seems to contradict life-cycle models.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent Hildebrand, 2001. "Wealth Accumulation of US Households: What Do We Learn from the SIPP Data?," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 41, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:41
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    Cited by:

    1. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
    2. Han, Chang-Keun & Sherraden, Michael, 2009. "Do institutions really matter for saving among low-income households? A comparative approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 475-483, June.
    3. Hisham S. El-Osta & Ashok K. Mishra & Mitchell J. Morehart, 2007. "Determinants of economic well-being among U.S. farm operator households," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 36(3), pages 291-304, May.
    4. Barry P. Bosworth & Ralph C. Bryant & Gary Burtless, 2004. "The Impact of Aging on Financial Markets and the Economy: A Survey," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-23, Center for Retirement Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wealth accumulation; life cycle models; cohort analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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