Chapter 29: Saving, the stock market and pension systems
Saving, investment and pensions are avenues by which households build up claims to future income and consumption. Such claims are important in a number of respects: they broaden people’s options; reduce their insecurities about material living standards; and enhance their ability to live with dignity in old age. As such, understanding the multiplicity of factors that shape how people save, invest and acquire pension rights is important for understanding their access to well-being and the ways in which social arrangements improve or undercut that access. In the traditional lifecycle view of saving, households maximize utility over the lifecycle, resulting in a profile whereby they borrow when young, save in mid-life, and spend down their assets when older; then total household saving is aggregated up from the behavior of independent households. Social economists share the criticisms of this perspective found in other fields, including feminist economics, behavioral economics, post-Keynesian economics and economic methodology.
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