Adequacy of Economic Resources in Retirement and Returns-to-scale in Consumption

Published: 2007
Project ID: UM07-07


Most assessments of the adequacy of retirement resources are expressed as a comparison of pre-retirement income to post-retirement income.  Yet, among couples a substantial fraction of retirement years is spent by the surviving spouse living alone.  To the extent that singles need less than couples to maintain the same standard of living, assessments of the adequacy of economic resources that make no adjustment for widowing will systematically mis-state economic preparation.  We propose to estimate returns-to-scale parameters in spending by older households, using data from the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey and apply these to assessment of adequacy of retirement resources.