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The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Anticipated and Actual Declines in Spending at Retirement

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  • Michael Hurd

    (RAND)

  • Susann Rohwedder

    (RAND)

Abstract

The simple one-good model of life-cycle consumption requires “consumption smoothing.” However, British and U.S. households apparently reduce consumption at retirement and the reduction cannot be explained by the life-cycle model. An interpretation is that retirees are surprised by the inadequacy of resources. This interpretation challenges the life-cycle model where consumers are forward looking. However, data on anticipated consumption changes at retirement and on realized consumption changes following retirement show that the reductions are fully anticipated. Apparently the decline is due to the cessation of workrelated expenses and the substitution of home production for market-purchased goods and services.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2004. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Anticipated and Actual Declines in Spending at Retirement," Working Papers wp069, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp069
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-788, September.
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    5. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. "An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages 7-56.
    6. Michael D. Hurd, 1993. "The Effect of Labor Market Rigidities on the Labor Force Behavior of Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 4462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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