Presenting "Health Dynamics and Heterogeneous Life Expectancies" at the SES 2022

I am an Associate Professor (tenure track) at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen. My research is mainly focused on heterogeneous-agent macroeconomics, household finance, and inequality.

I received my PhD from the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University. 

CV: Link | Email:

I am co-organizing a PhD summer course on Expectations and Macroeconomics given by Cosmin Ilut (Duke University), see details here.

Working papers

"Subjective Life Expectancies, Time Preference Heterogeneity, and Wealth Inequality” (with Jonna Olsson) [April 2024]

[PDF] [SSRN] (Conditionally accepted at Quantitative Economics)

This paper examines how objective and subjective heterogeneity in life expectancy affects savings behavior of healthy and unhealthy people. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we first document systematic biases in survival beliefs across self-reported health: those in poor health not only have a shorter actual lifespan but also underestimate their remaining life time. To gauge the effect on savings behavior and wealth accumulation, we use an overlapping-generations model where survival probabilities and beliefs evolve according to a health and survival process estimated from data. We conclude that differences in life expectancy are important to understand savings behavior, and that the belief biases, especially among the unhealthy, can explain up to a fifth of the observed health-wealth gap.

Presented at:  2023: Statistics Norway*; RES/SES Annual Conference; T2M, Paris* — 2022: Austrian Economic Society Winter Workshop;  LMU*;  Manchester*;  4th Behavioral Macroeconomics Workshop, Bamberg — 2021:  Nordic Junior Macro Seminar*; SED*;  DIAL Final Conference* — 2019:  Norface TRISP, London* — (*) Presentation by co-author

"Health Dynamics and Heterogeneous Life Expectancies" (with Jonna Olsson) [September 2021]

[Companion website] [PDF] [Online appendix]

Using biennial data from the Health and Retirement Study, we estimate age-dependent health dynamics and survival probabilities at annual frequency conditional on race, sex, and health.  The health gradient in life expectancy is steep and persists after controlling for socioeconomic status. Moreover, even conditional on health and socioeconomic status, the racial gap in life expectancy remains large. Simulations show that this gap affects savings rates but does not play a major role in explaining the racial wealth gap. However, differences in mortality imply that  black individuals on average can expect to receive 15% less in Social Security benefits in present value terms.

Presented at: 2024: RES Annual Conference, Belfast; 2023: Wittgenstein Centre Conference on "Exploring Population Heterogeneities", Vienna; Workshop on Fertility, Health, and Human Capital, Belfast* — 2022: The Private and Social Insurance Implications of Demographic Change, Frankfurt*; PERspectives on KURTosis in Macroeconomics, Stockholm; University of Dundee*; Scottish Economic Society Annual Meeting; CBS Inequality Platform 3rd Workshop on Health and Inequality*; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH); Austrian Economic Society Annual Meeting — 2020:  Longevity Heterogeneity and Pension Design, Louvain-la-Neuve*— (*) Presentation by co-author

"Experience-based Learning, Stock Market Participation and Portfolio Choice" [June 2020]


Recent evidence suggests that lifetime experiences play an important role in determining households' investment choices. I incorporate these findings and the fact that household portfolios are underdiversified into an otherwise standard life-cycle model and examine to what extent they can help resolve long-standing puzzles in the literature regarding stock market participation and the fraction of financial wealth invested in risky assets. I show that experience-based learning about returns creates a positive correlation between a household's position in the wealth distribution and its optimism about future returns. The wealthy consequently increase their investment in risky assets, while participation is limited among poor households. I find that in a reasonably calibrated quantitative model, this mechanism is able to close approximately half of the gap between participation rates observed in the data and the predictions from standard models. On the other hand, the average conditional risky share remains mostly unaffected.

Presented at: 2024:  Scottish Economic Society Annual Conference, Glasgow; 45th Annual Meeting of the Norwegian Association of Economists, Oslo; 2023: 5th Austrian Economic Society (NOeG) Winter Workshop; TU Vienna; Austrian Economic Society (NOeG) Annual Meeting 2020: University of Glasgow; Nova SBE; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH); Riksbank —  2019: IIES; Stockholm University Economics Department

Work in progress

"On the Redistributive Effects of Government Bailouts in the Mortgage Market" (with Dirk Krueger and Kurt Mitman)

In this paper we investigate positive and normative implications of bailout guarantees for mortgage lenders. The implicit guarantee for debt issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the US prior to 2008 led to lower borrowing costs for financial intermediaries in the mortgage market, which were passed on to households taking out mortgages. This in turn might have affected the distribution of real estate ownership and leverage among US households. On the other hand, the bailouts in 2008 required injections of $187bn of taxpayer money into these companies. The paper attempts to quantify this trade-off of lower borrowing rates and higher taxes to fund bailouts in a model featuring heterogeneous households and aggregate uncertainty in the form of (severe) recessions, identifying beneficiaries and losers of such a policy as well as overall welfare effects.

Photo credit: Sheep along the Stubaier Höhenweg in the Austrian Alps. Photo by Simona Foltyn.