NBER Working Papers by Louis Dicks-Mireaux

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Working Papers

August 1982Pension Wealth and Household Savings: Tests of Robustness
with Mervyn A. King: w0962
A substantial literature exists on the impact of pension schemes, both public and private, on the level of household saving. Yet there is no clear consensus on the impact of pensions on private saving. In this paper we show how beliefs about this displacement effect are modified by prior beliefs both about variables which ntight be relevant in an equation for private savings and about the magnitude of the displacement effect. Using data for 8,279 Canadian households, and estimates of pension wealth (both private and social security) which we construct for each household in the sample, the estimated displacement effects are found to be relatively robust with respect to both types of prior belief.
June 1982Portfolio Composition and Pension Wealth: An Econometric Study
with Mervyn A. King: w0903
There has been very little study of the consequences of pension wealth for the composition of household portfolios. Using individual data for 10,118 Canadian households we estimate the portfolio effect of pension wealth. Because most households do not own all of the assets which we are able to distinguish, we model asset demands as a mixed discrete-continuous portfolio choice problem. We find that whereas there is an identifiable effect of pension wealth on total private savings, the effect on portfolio choice is less significant. Moreover, within the area of portfolio composition the main effect is in terms of the particular number and combination of assets held rather than the amount of any given asset as a proportion of total wealth.
August 1981The Effective Tax Rate and the Pretax Rate of Return
with Martin Feldstein, James M. Poterba: w0740
This paper presents new estimates of the taxes paid on nonfinancial corporate capital, on the pretax rate of return to capital, and on the effective tax rate. The basic time series show that both the pretax rate of return and the effective tax rate have varied substantially in the past quarter century. An explicit analysis indicates that, after adjusting for different aspects of the business cycle, pretax profitability was between one and 1.5 percentage points lower in the 1970's than in the 1960's. The rate of profitability in the 1960's was also about one-half of a percentage point greater than the profitability in the 7 years of the 1950's after the Korean war. Changes in productivity growth, in inflation, in relative unit labor costs, and in other variables are all associated with chan...
1981Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle
with Mervyn A. King: w0614
Empirical studies of the life cycle savings model have tended to rej ect the hypothesis of a "hump-shaped" pattern for the wealth-age profile. In this paper we show, using new data on net worth for 12,734 families, that there is evidence that wealth declines after retirement provided that we control for differences in permanent income and take account of sample selection bias. The estimated rates of decumulation are consistent with a life cycle model in which there is uncertainty about the date of death.

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