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Melvin Stephens, Jr photo

Caloric Intake Changes at Retirement: Evolution Over Time

a PSC Research Project

Investigator:   Melvin Stephens

Understanding whether households are adequately saving for retirement has generated much interest among economists and policymakers. Although assessing savings adequacy can be difficult due to heterogeneity in income, preferences, risk attitudes, etc. across households, economists have relied on the Life-Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis (LCPIH) which predicts that consumption should not fall at retirement if households correctly anticipate leaving the labor force and the associated decline in income. The literature finds that consumption expenditures generally fall at retirement in the U.S. although recent evidence finds that these changes at retirement are much larger in the 1970s than in the 1990s. A notable paper argues that consumption expenditures do not perfectly correspond to our theoretical notion of consumption and finds that caloric intake does not fall at retirement using data from the 1990s. Using numerous data sources on food intake in the 1970s and 1980s, this project examines whether the diminishing impact of retirement on consumption expenditures over time is also found for caloric intake.

Funding Period: 07/01/2011 to 06/30/2012

Country of Focus: USA

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