Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New papers from the Social Science Research Network

"How Does Household Expenditure Change With Age for Older Americans?"
EBRI Notes, Vol. 35, No. 9 (September 2014)

SUDIPTO BANERJEE, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Retirement saving involves a lot of unknowns, the most important being not knowing how much money will be needed in retirement. Although it is impossible to predict the retirement expenses of any particular household, the average amounts spent by current retirees can serve as important benchmarks for individual savers as well as for industry experts and policymakers. This paper examines the expenditure pattern of the older segment of the U.S. population. The majority of the households studied here have either reached retirement age or are on the cusp of retirement. The data come from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey (CAMS), which is a supplement of the HRS. CAMS contains detailed spending information on 26 nondurable and six durable categories, and it follows the same group of people over time. Using this information coupled with the income information available in the HRS, this study summarizes the consumption behavior of the American elderly. The primary goal is to examine how overall spending and spending in different categories change with age. Home and home-related expenses is the largest spending category for every age group. Health expenses increase steadily with age. In 2011, households with at least one member between ages 50 and 64 spent 8 percent of their total budget on health items, compared with 19 percent for those age 85 or over. Health-related expenses occupy the second-largest share of total expenditure for those ages 75 or older. The two components of household expenditures that show a declining pattern across age groups are transportation expenses and entertainment expenses. Food and clothing expenses (as a share of total expenditure) remain more or less flat across the different age groups. There is a large increase in spending at the 95th percentile for those ages 90 or older, which can be attributed to very high health care expenses.

The PDF for the above title, published in the September 2014 issue of EBRI Notes, also contains the full text of another September 2014 EBRI Notes article abstracted on SSRN: “2014 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Most Workers Continue to be Satisfied With Their Own Health Plan, but Growing Number Give Low Ratings to Health Care System.”

"Initial Performance of Pension Privatization in Eastern Europe – Are Reform Reversals Justified?"

NIKOLA ALTIPARMAKOV, Serbian Fiscal Council

During first 15 years of their existence, mandatory private pension funds in Eastern Europe have realized rates of return that were lower and more volatile than the corresponding Pay-As-You-Go rates of return, even before the emergence of global financial crisis. Suboptimal investments in domestic government bonds dominated pension portfolios in many countries. Econometric analysis suggests that pension privatization failed to produce anticipated side-effect benefits, such as increased national saving or accelerated economic growth. If pension privatization structural weaknesses are unlikely to be resolved successfully then implementing reform reversals could improve short-term fiscal balance without deteriorating long-term pension sustainability.

No comments: