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Estimating Life Cycle Effects of Survival Probabilities in the Health and Retirement Study

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  • Michael Perry

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

This paper attempts to confirm the life-cycle relationship that lower subjective survival probabilities should lead to less positively sloped consumption trajectories. I use the results of six waves of subjective survival probability questions in the HRS to construct an index of survival belief that exploits the panel nature of the data by summarizing all of a respondent’s answers to such questions. In conjunction with constructed consumption values from the financial section of the HRS, I test the life-cycle relationship using OLS and Least-Absolute Deviation regression. I find weak evidence that the life-cycle effect of subjective survival probability is significant in a high-cognitive-ability sub-sample of the HRS. Measurement error in the constructed consumption data is problematic.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Perry, 2005. "Estimating Life Cycle Effects of Survival Probabilities in the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers wp103, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp103
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    File URL: http://mrdrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp103.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    2. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1995. "Evaluation of the Subjective Probabilities of Survival in the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages 268-292.
    3. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 2002. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 966-985, October.
    4. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1984. "Life-Cycle Effects on Consumption and Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 353-370, July.
    5. Kuehlwein, Michael, 1993. "Life-Cycle and Altruistic Theories of Saving with Lifetime Uncertainty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 38-47, February.
    6. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guan Gong & Anthony Webb, 2008. "Mortality Heterogeneity and the Distributional Consequences of Mandatory Annuitization," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1055-1079, December.
    2. Costa-Font, Joan & Vilaplana-Prieto, Cristina, 2021. "Biased Survival Expectations and Behaviours: Does Domain Specific Information Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 14876, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Huynh, Kim P. & Jung, Juergen, 2015. "Subjective health expectations," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 693-711.
    4. Huynh, Kim P. & Jung, Juergen, 2015. "Subjective health expectations," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 693-711.

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