Medical Expenses and Saving in Retirement: The Case of U.S. and Sweden
Many U.S. households have significant wealth late in life, contrary to the predictions of a simple life-cycle model. In this paper, we document stark differences between U.S. and Sweden regarding out-of-pocket medical and long-term-care expenses late in life, and use them to investigate their role in discouraging the elderly from dissaving. Using a consumption-saving model in retirement with significant uninsurable expense risk, we find that medical expense risk accounts for a quarter of the U.S.-Sweden difference in retirees' dissaving patterns. Furthermore, medical expense risk affects ...
Flexible Retirement and Optimal Taxation
This paper studies optimal insurance against private idiosyncratic shocks in a life-cycle model with intensive labor supply and endogenous retirement. In this environment, the optimal labor tax is hump-shaped in age: insurance benefits of taxation push for increasing-in-age taxes while rising labor supply elasticities and optimal late retirement of highly productive workers push for lowering taxes for old workers. In calibrated numerical simulations, the optimum achieves sizable welfare gains that age-dependent taxes do not deliver under the status quo US Social Security. Nevertheless, an ...
The Value and Risk of Human Capital
Human capital embodies the knowledge, skills, health and values that contribute to making people productive. These qualities, however, are hard to measure, and quantitative studies of human capital are typically based on the valuation of the lifetime income that a person generates in the labor market. This article surveys the theoretical and empirical literature that models a worker?s life-cycle earnings and identifies appropriate discount rates to translate those cash flows into a certainty equivalent of wealth. This paper begins with an overview of a stylized model of human capital ...
Labor Force Transitions at Older Ages : Burnout, Recovery, and Reverse Retirement
Partial and reverse retirement are two key behaviors characterizing labor force dynamics for individuals at older ages, with half working part-time and over a third leaving and later re-entering the labor force. The high rate of exit and re-entry is especially surprising given the declining wage profile at older ages and opportunities for re-entry in the future being uncertain. In this paper we study the effects of wage and health transition processes as well as the role of accrues work-related strain on the labor force participation on older males. We find that a model incorporating a work ...
Occupational Choice, Retirement, and the Effects of Disability Insurance
There is much variation in the physical requirements across occupations, giving rise to great differences in later-life productivity, disability risk, and the value of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In this paper, I look at how such differences across occupations affect initial career choice as well as the extent to which SSDI, which insures shocks to productivity due to disability, prompts more people to choose physically intense occupations. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS), I estimate a dynamic model of occupational ...
Reconsidering the Consequences of Worker Displacements : Firm versus Worker Perspective
Prior literature has established that displaced workers suffer persistent earnings losses by following workers in administrative data after mass layoffs. This literature assumes that these are involuntary separations owing to economic distress. This paper examines this assumption by matching survey data on worker-supplied reasons for separations with administrative data. Workers exhibit substantially different earnings dynamics in mass layoffs depending on the reason for separation. Using a new methodology to account for the increased separation rates across all survey responses during a mass ...
Home Equity in Retirement
Retired homeowners dissave more slowly than renters, which suggests that homeownership a?ects retirees? saving decisions. We investigate empirically and theoretically the life-cycle patterns of homeownership, housing and nonhousing assets in retirement. Using an estimated structural model of saving and housing decisions, we ?nd, ?rst, that homeowners dissave slowly because they prefer to stay in their house as long as possible but cannot easily borrow against it. Second, the 1996-2006 housing boom signi?cantly increased homeowners? assets. These channels are quantitatively signi?cant; without ...
Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects
Since 2007, the labor force participation rate has fallen from about 66 percent to about 63 percent. The sources of this decline have been widely debated among academics and policymakers, with some arguing that the participation rate is depressed due to weak labor demand while others argue that the decline was inevitable due to structural forces such as the aging of the population. In this paper, we use a variety of approaches to assess reasons for the decline in participation. Although these approaches yield somewhat different estimates of the extent to which the recent decline in ...
Population aging, labor demand, and the structure of wages
One consequence of demographic change is substantial shifts in the age distribution of the working-age population. As the baby boom generation ages, the usual historical pattern of a high ratio of younger workers relative to older workers has been replaced by a pattern of roughly equal percentages of workers of different ages. One might expect that the increasing relative supply of older workers would lower the wage premium paid for older, more experienced workers. This paper provides strong empirical support for this hypothesis. Econometric estimates imply that the size of one?s birth cohort ...
Saving for Retirement with Job Loss Risk
This article studies a tractable theoretical model of optimal consumption and saving decisions with endogenous retirement. Particular attention is paid to the impact of an increase in the risk of losing one?s job on the optimal path of consumption and wealth accumulation. Even if one does not actually lose their job, an increase in the risk of a job loss is by itself sufficient to cause lower consumption, higher saving, and, through faster retirement, lower labor supply.