Adequacy of Economic Resources in Retirement and Returns-to-scale in Consumption
Most assessments of the adequacy of retirement resources are expressed as a comparison of preretirement income to immediate post-retirement income. Yet, among couples a substantial fraction of retirement years is eventually 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 misstate economic preparation. We estimate returns-to-scale parameters in spending by older households, using data from the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey and apply these to assessments of adequacy of retirement resources.
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Paper IDWP 2008-174