What Age Do You Feel? - Subjective Age and Economic Behaviors
41 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 22, 2018
Building on recent findings in psychology, we study the impact of subjective age (feeling younger or older than one’s chronological age) on economic behaviors. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study we find that subjective age predicts economic behaviors: Individuals with younger age identities have higher work engagement, and their savings profile, as a function of the subjective age gap, is hump-shaped. The effects are economically significant, for example, increasing the subjective age gap by one standard deviation increases an individual’s likelihood to be employed in a subsequent HRS wave by 1.1% (about 21% of the conditional mean). The relationships found are consistent with an interplay of two subjective age channels: Ability (self-perceived abilities to perform certain economic behaviors) and Behavior (choosing (avoiding) “young” (“old”) behaviors). Our results have implications for age-dependent policies that traditionally target individuals based on chronological age.
Keywords: Subjective Age, Economic Behaviors, Employment Decision, Saving, Portfolio Choice
JEL Classification: D12; D14; D91; J20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation