Aging and assets: Three essays

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Aging, Assets, Savings, Retirement, Life cycle

Subject Categories

Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation is composed of three interrelated essays which examine the household assets of older adults through the process of aging. As individuals age, they accumulate assets for the purpose of future consumption. However, as each of the following three essays will show, this is not the only systematic relationship that arises between aging and assets. As cohorts of individuals age, the asset inequality within each cohort will also grow as individual risk is transmitted into greater overall variance (Essay 1). In addition, a reduction of risk-sharing within an aging cohort will cause a further growth in their asset inequality (Essay 2). Moreover, while primary home equity increases with age and serves as the largest household asset, it is not being used for consumption purposes until late within the retirement period (Essay 3). All of the essays share a common theme that the process of aging is far more important to understanding the dynamics of household assets than initially thought. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)


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