Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations
This paper provides a review of the theory of the determinants of individual and national thrift that has come to be known as the Life Cycle Hypothesis (LCH) of saving. Applications to some current policy issues are also discussed. Part I deals with the state of the art on the eve of the formulation of the LCH some 30 years ago. Part II sets forth the theoretical foundations of the model in its original formulation and later amendment, calling attention to various implications, distinctive to it and, sometimes, counter-intuitive. It also includes a review of a number of crucial empirical tests, both at the individual and the aggregate level. Part III reviews some applications of LCH to current policy issues, though only in sketchy fashion, as space constraints prevent fuller discussion.
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