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New evidence on altruism: a study of TIAA-CREF retirees
Economists make extensive use of two separate descriptions of private saving behavior: the life-cycle (or overlapping generations) model, and models with intergenerational altruism. Analysis of the two frameworks is quite different, as are many of the long-run policy implications. This paper looks at evidence, at the microeconomic level, for and against altruism as a principal determinant of private wealth holdings. The database is new: this paper uses a sample of annuitants in the TIAA-CREF retirement system. We employ a combination of qualitative and quantitative information. Results are: ...
The decline in household saving and the wealth effect
Using a unique set of household level panel data, we estimate the effect of capital gains on saving by asset type, controlling for observable and unobservable household specific fixed effects. The results suggest that the decline in the personal saving rate since 1984 is largely due to the significant capital gains in corporate equities experienced over this period. Over five-year periods, the effect of capital gains in corporate equities on saving is substantially larger than the effect of capital gains in housing or other assets. Failure to differentiate wealth affects across asset types ...