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Lifecycle Impacts of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Household Optimal Consumption, Portfolio Choice, and Labor Supply


  • Jingjing Chai
  • Raimond Maurer
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Ralph Rogalla


The direct financial impact of the financial crisis has been to deal a heavy blow to investment-based pensions; many workers lost a substantial portion of their retirement saving. The financial sector implosion produced an economic crisis for the rest of the economy via high unemployment and reduced labor earnings, which reduced household contributions to Social Security and some private pensions. Our research asks which types of individuals were most affected by these dual financial and economic shocks, and it also explores how people may react by changing their consumption, saving and investment, work and retirement, and annuitization decisions. We do so with a realistically calibrated lifecycle framework allowing for time-varying investment opportunities and countercyclical risky labor income dynamics. We show that households near retirement will reduce both short- and long-term consumption, boost work effort, and defer retirement. Younger cohorts will initially reduce their work hours, consumption, saving, and equity exposure; later in life, they will work more, retire later, consume less, invest more in stocks, save more, and reduce their demand for private annuities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jingjing Chai & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell & Ralph Rogalla, 2011. "Lifecycle Impacts of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Household Optimal Consumption, Portfolio Choice, and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 17134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17134
    Note: AG LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert, 2002. "International Asset Allocation With Regime Shifts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(4), pages 1137-1187.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2006. "Social Security Replacement Rates for Alternative Earnings Benchmarks," Working Papers wp116, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Francisco J. Gomes & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Luis M. Viceira, 2008. "Optimal Life-Cycle Investing with Flexible Labor Supply: A Welfare Analysis of Life-Cycle Funds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 297-303, May.
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    6. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, April.
    7. Jingjing Chai & Wolfram Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2009. "Extending Life Cycle Models of Optimal Portfolio Choice: Integrating Flexible Work, Endogenous Retirement, and Investment Decisions with Lifetime Payouts," Working Papers wp204, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    9. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 1999. "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions From Qualified Accounts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(3), pages 563-592, September.
    10. Coile, Courtney & Diamond, Peter & Gruber, Jonathan & Jousten, Alain, 2002. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 357-385, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hugo Benítez-Silva & J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Sergi Jiménez-Martín, 2011. "The effects of employment uncertainty and wealth shocks on the labor supply and claiming behavior of older American workers," Economics Working Papers 1275, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Urvi Neelakantan & Felicia Ionescu & Kartik Athreya, 2014. "Risky, Lumpy Human Capital in Household Portfolios," 2014 Meeting Papers 1242, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Richard Florida & Charlotta Mellander & Thomas Holgersson, 2015. "Up in the air: the role of airports for regional economic development," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(1), pages 197-214, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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