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Precautionary Portfolio Behavior from a Life-Cycle Perspective

  • Carol C. Bertaut

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Michael Haliassos

    (University of Cyprus and IMOP Athens)

The literature on household asset accumulation draws a sharp distinction between "short-run" precautionary motives to buffer consumption from annual income shocks, and "long-run" life cycle considerations under income certainty. However, estimates of shock persistence imply considerable career uncertainty. We study long-run precautionary motives for life-cycle wealth accumulation and portfolios allowing for uncertain returns, incomes, and lifespan. We separate the effects of various factors on mean and median asset holdings, including education, risk aversion, household heterogeneity, bequests, impatience, variance and serial correlation of income shocks. Numerical solutions are compared with data from the 1992 Survey of Consumer Finances.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Finance with number 9604001.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 19 Apr 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:9604001
Note: Type of Document - WordPerfect 5.1/5.2; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 39; figures: request from author. Please note that the paper size is A4.
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  1. Mankiw, N.G. & Zeldes, S.P., 1990. "The Consumption Of Stockholders And Non-Stockholders," Weiss Center Working Papers 23-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  2. Michael Haliassos & Andrew B. Lyon, 1993. "Progressivity of Capital Gains Taxation with Optimal Portfolio Selection," NBER Working Papers 4253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Miles S. Kimball, 1991. "Precautionary Motives for Holding Assets," NBER Working Papers 3586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 1993. "Private Saving and Public Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 73-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  9. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
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  12. Kimball, Miles S, 1993. "Standard Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 589-611, May.
  13. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  14. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  15. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  16. Haliassos, Michael, 1994. "On Perfect Foresight Models of a Stochastic World," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 477-91, May.
  17. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
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  27. repec:fth:harver:1507 is not listed on IDEAS
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