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Savings decisions under life-time and earnings uncertainty : empirical evidence from West German household data

Listed author(s):
  • Rodepeter, Ralf
  • Winter, Joachim

We analyze a model of life-cycle savings decisions which allows for both life-time and income uncertainty. We then simulate life-cycle saving rates based on empirical income processes estimated from West German household data. Our main findings are, first, that allowing for mortality risk improves the life-cycle model's predictions slightly, and second, that simulated saving rates still fail to match their empirical counterparts. While our model correctly predicts differential peak saving rates during working life for three household types that face different income processes, it cannot explain an important salient feature of saving in Germany: Empirically, there is almost no post-retirement dissaving, while our life-cycle model predicts substantial dissaving even though we control for the generous German pension system which results in relatively high post-retirement income.

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File URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/2862/1/dp98_58.pdf
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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbreich 504 in its series Papers with number 98-58.

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Date of creation: 1998
Handle: RePEc:mnh:spaper:2862
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  1. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
  2. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
  3. Bertaut, Carol C. & Haliassos, Michael, 1997. "Precautionary portfolio behavior from a life-cycle perspective," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(8-9), pages 1511-1542, June.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1996. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints, and Portfolio Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 158-172, March.
  5. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Precautionary saving and subjective earnings variance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 319-326, December.
  6. Stephen P. Zeldes, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-298.
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  8. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
  9. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  10. Skinner, Jonathan, 1985. "Variable Lifespan and the Intertemporal Elasticity of Consumption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 616-623, November.
  11. Borsch-Supan, Axel H & Stahl, Konrad, 1991. "Life Cycle Savings and Consumption Constraints: Theory, Empirical Evidence, and Fiscal Implications," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 4(3), pages 233-255, August.
  12. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  13. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
  14. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Reil-Held, Anette & Rodepeter, Ralf & Schnabel, Reinhold & Winter, Joachim, 1999. "Ersparnisbildung in Deutschland : Meßkonzepte und Ergebnisse auf Basis der EVS," Papers 99-02, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  15. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  16. Schechtman, Jack, 1976. "An income fluctuation problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 218-241, April.
  17. Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Superior Information, Income Shocks, And The Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 465-476, August.
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