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Aging and Asset Prices

  • Börsch-Supan, Axel


    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Ludwig, Alexander


    (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA) and Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Sommer, Mathias


    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

This study quantifies the potential effects of aging on asset prices using a sophisticated overlapping generations (OLG) model with international diversification reflecting the global nature of capital markets. We show that the expected decline in the returns to capital will depend on the degree of international diversification. In the case of optimal diversification within the EU returns will drop by around one percentage point until 2035. The increasing risk aversion of an aging society will lead to differential effects on the returns on stocks and on bonds. We estimate the equity premium to rise by around 70 base points over the next 25 years. The sector that will be affected most by the demographic trend will be returns on real estate, however, only in the very long term. The main insight is that household size lags population size by about 20 years. One reason is that an older society features a smaller household size and thus, ceteris paribus, more households. Hence, housing demand will only begin to fall from 2025 onwards even if populations start declining today. Taken all evidence together, capital markets are not immune to demography. Rates of return will decline in response to demographic forces, but only very moderately. There is no scientific reason to assume that a major “asset meltdown” will occur when the babyboom generation retires.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 07-29.

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Length: 73 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-29
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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  1. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-26, May.
  2. Axel Boersch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2001. "Aging and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 8553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robin Brooks, 2004. "The Equity Premium and the Baby Boom," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 155, Econometric Society.
  4. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
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  9. Axel Boersch-Supan & Florian Heiss & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2003. "Pension Reform, Capital Markets and the Rate of Return," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 151-181, 05.
  10. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Ludwig, Alexander & Winter, Joachim, 2001. "Aging, pension reform, and capital flows: a multi-country simulation model," Papers 01-08, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
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  21. Giovanni L. Violante & Orazio P. Attanasio, 2000. "The Demographic Transition in Closed and Open Economies: A Tale of Two Regions," Research Department Publications 4194, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  22. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Ludwig, Alexander & Winter, Joachim, 2004. "Aging, Pension Reform, and Capital Flows:," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 04-65, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  23. Hamilton, Bruce W., 1991. "The baby boom, the baby bust, and the housing market A second look," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 547-552, December.
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  26. Axel Börsch-Supan & Anette Reil-Held & Ralf Rodepeter & Reinhold Schnabel & University of Mannheim & Germany, 2000. "Household Savings in Germany," Macroeconomics 0004053, EconWPA.
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  28. Berkelaar, A.B. & Kouwenberg, R.R.P., 2000. "Dynamic asset allocation and downside-risk aversion," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2000-12/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
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