December 2000

IZA DP No. 238: The Saving Behaviour of Two Person Households: Evidence from Dutch Panel Data

Rob Euwals, Axel H. Börsch-Supan, Angelika Eymann

published in: Journal of Economic Psychology, 2004, 25 (2), 195-211

As wives generally are younger than their husbands, and as they also have a higher life expectancy, wives generally have larger incentives to save for old age than their husbands. This paper analyses the household members’ attitudes towards saving for old age, and the relation with the household saving and portfolio choice behaviour. Based on a panel of two-person households (e.g. with a husband and a wife) from the Dutch CentER Savings Survey, we find that wives find saving for old age more important than their husbands. In a special high-income subsample we find that for this group the household members find saving for old age equally important. The major determinant of both household members’ attitudes is the husband’s mandatory pension rights. Both household members’ attitude relate to the probability of holding annuity and endowment insurances, while only the husband’s attitude relates to the probability of holding stocks. Concerning discretionary household wealth we find evidence for an impact of the husband’s attitude, but no evidence for an impact of the wife’s attitude.