NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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What Determines End-of-Life Assets? A Retrospective View

James M. Poterba, Steven F. Venti, David A. Wise

Chapter in NBER book Insights in the Economics of Aging (2017), David A. Wise, editor (p. 127 - 157)
Conference held April 30-May 2, 2015
Published in March 2017 by University of Chicago Press
© 2017 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in NBER Book Series - The Economics of Aging

We consider assets when individuals were last observed prior to death in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and then trace assets backwards to the age when they were first observed. We find that for most individuals, assets in the last year observed (LYO) were very similar to assets in the first year observed (FYO), and in particular that most of those who were last observed with very low asset levels also had low assets when first observed. We then estimate the relationship between education, changes in individual attributes such as health and family composition, and changes in assets between the first and last observations for individuals. We obtain estimates for HRS respondents who were 51 to 61 in 1992 and for AHEAD respondents who were age 70 and over in 1993.

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Commentary on this chapter: Comment, Brigitte C. Madrian
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