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Economics Weekly Seminar: Mausumi Das

April 17 @ 1:30 pm - 2:40 pm

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Event Details

Title: Death and Capital: Physical and Human Capital Investment under Mortality Shock

Speaker: Mausumi Das, Delhi School of Economics

Wednesday, April 17, 1:30 – 2:40pm

AC 02 LR 105


Two questions motivate this paper: (i) to what extent can dynastic altruism substitute for missing annuities in maintaining overall investment under lifetime uncertainty, and (ii) how does lifetime uncertainty affect the pattern of investment and economic development? In a life-cycle model, parents value the transfer of tangible assets to their offspring in the event of premature death which increases the subjective reward they obtain from investing in them. Consumption risk in the absence of annuities, on the other hand, discourages investment. We show that parental altruism can compensate for the absence of annuities under empirically plausible degrees of risk aversion. When people also invest in intangible human capital, lifetime uncertainty tilts portfolio choice in favor of tangible assets. This can translate into divergent growth paths, delayed transition from physical to human capital accumulation and a dampened response to mortality shock in developing countries.


April 17
1:30 pm - 2:40 pm


Department of Economics


AC 02 LR 105