NBER Working Papers by Thomas Juster

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Working Papers

August 1995Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey
with Robert B. Barsky, Miles S. Kimball, Matthew D. Shapiro: w5213
Individuals' preferences underlying most economic behavior are likely to display substantial heterogeneity. This paper reports on direct measures of preference parameters relating to risk tolerance, time preference, and intertemporal substitution. These experimental measures are based on survey respondents' choices in hypothetical situations. The questions are constructed with as little departure from the theorist's concept of the underlying parameter as possible. The individual measures of preference parameters display substantial heterogeneity. The majority of respondents fall into the least risk-tolerant group, but a substantial minority display higher risk tolerance. The individual measures of intertemporal substitution and time preference also display substantial heterogeneity. ...

Published: Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 112 (May 1997): 537-579.

January 1995Income and Wealth of Older American Households: Modeling Issues for Public Policy Analysis
with Alan L. Gustman: w4996
This paper evaluates the extent to which current knowledge of retirement, savings, pension and related behavior is sufficient for determining the effects of major policy initiatives on the incomes and wealth of the aged population of the United States. Data are presented from two new surveys, the Health and Retirement Study and the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old Survey, describing the distributions of the major components of income and wealth to be explained by these behavioral models. The data suggest that the amount of wealth held by the older population has been severely understated in earlier surveys. Disagreements and inconsistencies in models of savings indicate that there is no agreed upon behavioral model upon which to base policy analysis. Similar problems char...

Published: in Eric Hanushek and Nancy L. Maritato, eds., Assessing Knowledge of Retirement Behavior, National Academy Press, Washington, DC 1996, pp.11-60

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