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Discounting and Consumption Over an Uncertain Horizon: Draw-Down Plans for Family Trusts

Individuals, endowments and trusts face uncertain lifetimes. When the planning horizon of an entity is stochastic and Pareto distributed, hyperbolic discounting and time-varying consumption rates are optimal. We derive expressions for the optimal rate of consumption (draw-down) from wealth for family trusts facing positive probabilities of extinction at each generation. Using birth statistics for the UK, we compute family extinction probabilities and show that they are well-approximated by a Pareto distribution, hence family trusts will discount hyperbolically. Numerically optimised consumption paths for family trusts with CRRA preferences are decreasing but always higher than for infinitely-lived trusts.

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File URL: http://www.business.uts.edu.au/qfrc/research/research_papers/rp210.pdf
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Paper provided by Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney in its series Research Paper Series with number 210.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uts:rpaper:210
Contact details of provider: Postal: PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9514 7777
Fax: +61 2 9514 7711
Web page: http://www.qfrc.uts.edu.au/

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  1. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2005. "Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1290-1299, September.
  2. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. George Loewenstein & Richard H Thaler, 2003. "Anomalies: Intertemporal Choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000784, David K. Levine.
  5. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-57, July.
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