An Empirical Investigation of Intergenerational Consumption Distribution

Makoto Saito

in Aging Issues in the United States and Japan

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780226620817
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226620831 | DOI:
An Empirical Investigation of Intergenerational Consumption Distribution

Show Summary Details


This chapter empirically analyzes how the results of successful economic growth have been distributed among generations during the past thirty years in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The first half of the chapter looks at how the cross-sectional distribution of consumption goods between elderly and young consumers has evolved over time. Using age-classified consumption data, it shows that in both Japan and the United States, the percentage of youth consumption has declined substantially on a per capita basis while elderly consumption has increased dramatically. By contrast, young consumers in the United Kingdom are receiving an increasingly greater percentage of consumption goods. The second half of the chapter presents an analytical framework for evaluating quantitatively the evolution of the cross-age distribution of consumption goods. Applying this method to the age-classified data, it is shown that the value of the lifetime income peaked for the cohort born between 1932 and 1936 in Japan and for the American cohort born between 1947 and 1951. In both countries, lifetime income has declined among younger cohorts. This deterioration in lifetime income is more serious in the United States than in Japan, however. By contrast, the value of lifetime income is higher for younger cohorts in the United Kingdom.

Keywords: economic growth; consumption goods; elderly consumers; young consumers; lifetime income

Chapter.  9111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.