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Redistribution and Insurance: Mandatory Annuitization With Mortality Heterogeneity

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown

Abstract

This article examines the distributional implications of mandatory longevity insurance when mortality heterogeneity exists in the population. Previous research has demonstrated the significant financial redistribution that occurs under alternative annuity programs in the presence of differential mortality across groups. This article embeds that analysis into a life-cycle framework that allows for an examination of distributional effects on a utility-adjusted basis. It finds that the degree of redistribution that occurs from the introduction of a mandatory annuity program is substantially lower on a utility-adjusted basis than when evaluated on a purely financial basis. In a simple life-cycle model with no bequests, complete annuitization is welfare enhancing even for those with higher-than-average expected mortality rates, so long as administrative costs are sufficiently low. These findings have implications for policy toward annuitization, particularly as part of a reformed Social Security system. Copyright 2003 The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The American Risk and Insurance Association in its journal Journal of Risk & Insurance.

Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 17-41

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:70:y:2003:i:1:p:17-41

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  1. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 1-29.
  2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, . "The Role of Real Annuities and Indexed Bonds In An Individual Accounts Retirement Program," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2001. "How effective is redistribution under the social security benefit formula?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-28, October.
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    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  6. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Coronado Julia Lynn & Fullerton Don & Glass Thomas, 2011. "The Progressivity of Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, November.
  8. Jeffrey R. Brown, 1999. "Private Pensions, Mortality Risk, and the Decision to Annuitize," NBER Working Papers 7191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
  14. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 11-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Martin S. Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 2002. "The Economics of Bequests in Pensions and Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 371-400 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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