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Fatalism and Savings

  • Stephen, Wu
  • Joel, Shapiro

We examine the impact of fatalism, the belief that one has little or no control over future events, on the decision of whether or not to save. We develop a model that predicts that fatalism decreases savings for moderately risk averse individuals, increases savings for highly risk averse individuals, and otherwise has no impact. Furthermore, fatalism decreases effort in learning about savings and investment options. We use data from National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) and find general support for the theoretical predictions of the model. The results are robust to the inclusion of a number of additional control variables.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 24852.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24852
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  1. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
  2. Paola Giuliano & Stephen Turnovsky, 2000. "Intertemporal Substitution, Risk Aversion, and Economic Performance in a Stochastically Growing Open Economy," Working Papers 0002, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  3. Todd W Allen & Christopher D Carroll, 2001. "Individual Learning About Consumption," Economics Working Paper Archive 444, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  4. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2001. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 2728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
  7. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 4952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Reis, Ricardo, 2005. "Inattentive Consumers," CEPR Discussion Papers 5053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2004. "Plan Design and 401(k) Savings Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 10486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," Scholarly Articles 4553009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
  12. Wu Stephen, 2005. "Fatalistic Tendencies: An Explanation of Why People Don't Save," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, September.
  13. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role Of Information And Social Interactions In Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence From A Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842, August.
  14. Raj Chetty, 2003. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Wu, Stephen, 2003. "Sickness and preventive medical behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 675-689, July.
  17. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  19. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
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