Policy Effects in Hyperbolic vs. Exponential Models of Consumption and Retirement

45 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2010 Last revised: 8 Nov 2010

See all articles by Alan L. Gustman

Alan L. Gustman

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thomas L. Steinmeier

Texas Tech University - Department of Economics and Geography

Date Written: October 2010

Abstract

This paper constructs a structural retirement model with hyperbolic preferences and uses it to estimate the effect of several potential policy changes. Estimated effects of policies are compared under hyperbolic and standard exponential preferences. Sophisticated hyperbolic discounters may accumulate substantial amounts of wealth for retirement. We find it is frequently difficult to distinguish empirically between models with the two types of preferences on the basis of asset accumulation paths or consumption paths around the period of retirement. The simulations also suggest that, despite the much higher initial time preference rate, individuals with hyperbolic preferences may actually value a real annuity more than individuals with exponential preferences who have accumulated roughly equal amounts of assets. This appears to be especially true for individuals with relatively high time preference rates or who have low assets for whatever reason. This affects the tradeoff between current benefits and future benefits on which many of the retirement incentives of the Social Security system rest.Simulations involving increasing the early entitlement age and increasing the delayed retirement credit do not show a great deal of difference whether exponential or hyperbolic preferences are used, but simulations for eliminating the earnings test show a non-trivially greater effect when exponential preferences are used.

Suggested Citation

Gustman, Alan L. and Steinmeier, Thomas L., Policy Effects in Hyperbolic vs. Exponential Models of Consumption and Retirement (October 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16503, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1699603

Alan L. Gustman (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

6106 Rockefeller Center
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2641 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Thomas L. Steinmeier

Texas Tech University - Department of Economics and Geography ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409-2101
United States
806-742-2201 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
5
Abstract Views
326
PlumX Metrics