Longevity and wealth inequality: paper presentation in Gdańsk
This year Gdańsk hosted Income and Wealth Inequality: Drivers and Consequences conference organized by Luxembourg Income Study & Gdansk University of Technology. The conference was abundant with many valuable research papers, 4 distinguished keynote speakers (including the one given by Branko Milanovic) and policy roundtable with policymakers and academics.
In one of the parallel sessions Marcin presented our results which link unprecedented increases in life expectancy at retirement in the United States with wealth inequality evolution. In theory, people who expect to live longer at retirement should increase their life-cycle savings to prepare for increasingly longer periods of life deprived of income from work. Increasing life-cycle savings, in turn, have implications for wealth inequality levels. Most importantly, the wealth gap between the young and those just before retirement (at the peak of their saving levels) will be larger the greater the life expectancy gains. Similar patterns can be seen in the data - since World War II, wealth inequality between cohorts have been increasing substantially, causing significant increases of total US wealth inequality. These increases can be related to gains in life expectancy at retirement. Importantly, cohorts expected to live longest at retirement made the largest contribution to the increases in total US wealth inequality.
The presentation was definitely a valuable learning experience. We express our gratitude for the insightful feedback provided by Eva Sierminska, Piotr Paradowski and Michał Myck, which surely will enhance both the clarity and robustness of our results.