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Why Do Couples and Singles Save during Retirement? Household Heterogeneity and its Aggregate Implications

Author

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  • Mariacristina De Nardi
  • Eric French
  • John Bailey Jones
  • Rory McGee

Abstract

We estimate a model of savings for retired couples and singles who face longevity and medical expense risks, and in which couples can leave bequests both when the first and last spouse dies. We show that saving motives vary by marital status, permanent income, and age. We find that most households save more for medical expenses than for bequests, but that richer households and couples, who hold most of the wealth, save more for bequests. As a result, bequest motives are a key determinant of aggregate retirement wealth.

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  • Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones & Rory McGee, 2021. "Why Do Couples and Singles Save during Retirement? Household Heterogeneity and its Aggregate Implications," NBER Working Papers 28828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28828
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    2. Philippe De Donder & Marie‐Louise Leroux, 2021. "Long term care insurance with state‐dependent preferences," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(12), pages 3074-3086, December.
    3. Gobbi, Paula Eugenia & Baudin, Thomas & De Rock, Bram, 2021. "Economics and family structures," CEPR Discussion Papers 16516, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Raquel Fonseca & Hugo Morin & Ana I. Moro-Egido, 2021. "Stress and Retirement," CIRANO Working Papers 2021s-10, CIRANO.
    5. Etgeton, Stefan & Fischer, Björn & Ye, Han, 2023. "The effect of increasing retirement age on households’ savings and consumption expenditure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 221(C).
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    7. Advani, Arun & Summers, Andy, 2022. "Measuring and taxing top incomes and wealth," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1403, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    8. FUKAI Taiyo & ICHIMURA Hidehiko & KITAO Sagiri & MIKOSHIBA Minamo, 2021. "Medical Expenditures over the Life Cycle: Persistent Risks and Insurance," Discussion papers 21073, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Aleksandra Kolasa, 2022. "The long-term impact of quasi-universal transfers to older households," Working Papers 2022-28, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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