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Long-Term-Care Utility and Late-in-Life Saving

Author

Listed:
  • John Ameriks
  • Joseph S. Briggs
  • Andrew Caplin
  • Matthew D. Shapiro
  • Christopher Tonetti

Abstract

Older wealthholders spend down assets much more slowly than predicted by classic life-cycle models. This paper introduces health-dependent utility into a model in which preferences for bequests, expenditures when in need of long-term care (LTC), and ordinary consumption combine with health and longevity uncertainty to explain saving behavior. To sharply identify motives, it develops strategic survey questions (SSQs) that elicit stated preferences. The model is estimated using these SSQs and wealth data from the Vanguard Research Initiative. A robust finding is that the desire to self-insure against long-term-care risk explains a substantial fraction of the wealthholding of older Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • John Ameriks & Joseph S. Briggs & Andrew Caplin & Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher Tonetti, 2015. "Long-Term-Care Utility and Late-in-Life Saving," NBER Working Papers 20973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20973
    Note: AG EFG HE ME PR
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee M. Lockwood, 2018. "Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(9), pages 2513-2550, September.
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    3. Giulio Fella, 2014. "A generalized endogenous grid method for non-smooth and non-concave problems," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 329-344, April.
    4. John Laitner & Daniel Silverman & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2014. "Annuitized Wealth and Post-Retirement Saving," NBER Working Papers 20547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David A. Wise, 2013. "Health, Education, and the Postretirement Evolution of Household Assets," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 297-339.
    6. Love, David A. & Palumbo, Michael G. & Smith, Paul A., 2009. "The trajectory of wealth in retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 191-208, February.
    7. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2011. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self‐Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 693-732, May.
    8. Evans, William N & Viscusi, W Kip, 1991. "Estimation of State-Dependent Utility Functions Using Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 94-104, February.
    9. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Minjoon Lee & Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher Tonetti, 2015. "The Wealth of Wealthholders," NBER Working Papers 20972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Karen Smith & Mauricio Soto & Rudolph G. Penner, 2009. "How Seniors Change Their Asset Holdings During Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-31, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2009.
    11. Asher A. Blass & Saul Lach & Charles F. Manski, 2010. "Using Elicited Choice Probabilities To Estimate Random Utility Models: Preferences For Electricity Reliability," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 421-440, May.
    12. Victor Rios-Rull & Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2005. "Health and Heterogeneity," 2005 Meeting Papers 644, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
    14. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
    15. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    16. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2011. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Public Care Aversion from Bequest Motives," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 519-561, April.
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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
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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