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Evaluation of Subjective Probability Distributions in the HRS

  • Michael D. Hurd
  • Kathleen McGarry

In the Health and Retirement Survey respondents were asked about the chances they would live to 75 or to 85, and the chances they would work after age 62 or 65. We analyze the responses to determine if they behave like probabilities, if their averages are close to average probabilities in the population, and if they have correlations with other variables that are similar to correlations with actual outcomes. We find that generally they do behave like probabilities and they do aggregate. Most remarkable, however, is that they covary with other variables in the same way actual outcomes vary with the variables. For example, smokers give lower probabilities of living to 75 than nonsmokers. We conclude that these measures of subjective probabilities have great potential use in models of intertemporal decision making under uncertainty.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4560.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4560.

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Date of creation: Dec 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources, 1995, Volume 30
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4560
Note: AG
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  1. Michael D. Hurd, 1993. "The Effect of Labor Market Rigidities on the Labor Force Behavior of Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 4462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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