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NBER Work Pap Ser. 1998 Oct;(6774):39 p.

Population age structure and asset returns: an empirical investigation.

Abstract

"This paper investigates the association between population age structure, particularly the share of the population in the 'prime saving years' 45-60, and the returns on stocks and bonds. The paper is motivated by the claim that the aging of the 'Baby Boom' cohort in the United States is a key factor in explaining the recent rise in asset values. It also addresses the associated claim that asset prices will decline when this large cohort reaches retirement age and begins to reduce its asset holdings. This paper begins by considering household age-asset accumulation profiles. Data from the Survey of Consumer Finances suggest that while cross-sectional age-wealth profiles peak for households in their early 60s, cohort data on the asset ownership of the same households show a much less pronounced peak.... The paper then considers the historical relationship between demographic structure and real returns on Treasury bills, long-term government bonds, and corporate stock. The results do not suggest any robust relationship between demographic structure and asset returns.... The paper concludes by discussing factors such as international capital flows and forward-looking behavior on the part of market participants that could weaken the relationship between age structure and asset returns in a single nation."

PMID:
12179488
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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