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The Influence of Public Policy on Health, Wealth and Mortality

  • John Karl Scholz

    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Ananth Seshadri

    (University of Wisconsin)

In this project we extend an augmented lifecycle model, incorporating a Grossman-style model of health capital, to enhance understanding of factors influencing consumption, wealth and health. We develop three primary results when using the model to explore the effects of stylized versions of Medicare and Social Security on wealth and longevity. First, our model calibration implies consumption and health are complements. As health depreciates with age, households will get less utility from consumption than would be in the case of a lifecycle model that does not endogenize health. Second, it appears that forward-looking households, when confronted by a substantially reduced safety net, will respond by reducing consumption and by reducing their health investment and therefore longevity. Third, there is a potentially important difference between short- and long- run responses to policy.

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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp252.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp252
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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2006. "The Value of Health and Longevity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 871-904, October.
  2. Motohiro Yogo, 2009. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," NBER Working Papers 15307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Finkelstein, Amy & Luttmer, Erzo F. P. & Notowidigdo, Matthew J., 2008. "What Good Is Wealth without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption," Working Paper Series rwp08-036, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Why do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," NBER Working Papers 15149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raquel Fonseca & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Titus Galama & Arie Kapteyn, 2009. "On the Rise of Health Spending and Longevity," Working Papers 722, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2007. "Does Medicare Save Lives?," NBER Working Papers 13668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
  8. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, December.
  10. Palumbo, Michael G, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421, April.
  11. Karen A. Kopecky & Tatyana Koreshkova, 2010. "The impact of medical and nursing home expenses and social insurance," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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