Life-cycle consumption patterns at older ages in the US and the UK: can medical expenditures explain the difference?

Document type
Working Paper
Banks, James; Blundell, Richard; Levell, Peter
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Date of publication
9 September 2016
IFS working paper; W16/16
Health Services, Employment, Housing and Homelessness, Older Adults
Social welfare
Material type

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This paper highlights steeper declines in non-durable expenditures in the UK compared to the US.

Probable causes include different employment paths, housing ownership and expenses, levels and paths of health status, number of household members, and out-of-pocket medical expenditures.

These findings have relevance for discussions of consumption behavior at older ages. It is often found that older households, particularly in the US, tend to continue to amass wealth as they age.