Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Optimal Mandates and the Welfare Cost of Asymmetric Information: Evidence From the U.K. Annuity Market

Contents:

Author Info

  • Liran Einav
  • Amy Finkelstein
  • Paul Schrimpf
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Much of the extensive empirical literature on insurance markets has focused on whether adverse selection can be detected. Once detected, however, there has been little attempt to quantify its welfare cost or to assess whether and what potential government interventions may reduce these costs. To do so, we develop a model of annuity contract choice and estimate it using data from the U.K. annuity market. The model allows for private information about mortality risk as well as heterogeneity in preferences over different contract options. We focus on the choice of length of guarantee among individuals who are required to buy annuities. The results suggest that asymmetric information along the guarantee margin reduces welfare relative to a first-best symmetric information benchmark by about �127 million per year or about 2 percent of annuitized wealth. We also find that by requiring that individuals choose the longest guarantee period allowed, mandates could achieve the first-best allocation. However, we estimate that other mandated guarantee lengths would have detrimental effects on welfare. Since determining the optimal mandate is empirically difficult, our findings suggest that achieving welfare gains through mandatory social insurance may be harder in practice than simple theory may suggest. Copyright 2010 The Econometric Society.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.3982/ECTA7245
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

    Volume (Year): 78 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (05)
    Pages: 1031-1092

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:78:y:2010:i:3:p:1031-1092

    Contact details of provider:
    Phone: 1 212 998 3820
    Fax: 1 212 995 4487
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.econometricsociety.org/
    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information:
    Email:
    Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/memb.asp?ref=0012-9682

    Related research

    Keywords:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Spencer Bastani, 2013. "Gender-based and couple-based taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 653-686, August.
    2. Moreno-Serra, R & Smith, PC, 2013. "Towards an index of health coverage," Working Papers 10422, Imperial College, London, Imperial College Business School.
    3. Johannes Spinnewijn, 2012. "Heterogeneity, Demand for Insurance and Adverse Selection," CEP Discussion Papers dp1142, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Spenkch, Jörg L., 2011. "Adverse selection and moral hazard among the poor: evidence from a randomized experiment," MPRA Paper 31443, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Wuppermann, Amelie Catherine, 2011. "Empirical Essays in Health and Education Economics," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13187, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. Martin B. Hackmann & Jonathan T. Kolstad & Amanda E. Kowalski, 2013. "Adverse Selection and an Individual Mandate: When Theory Meets Practice," NBER Working Papers 19149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ralph S.J. Koijen & Motohiro Yogo, 2013. "Shadow Insurance," NBER Working Papers 19568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Raj Chetty & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data," NBER Working Papers 18433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Andrew Beauchamp & Mathis Wagner, 2012. "Dying to Retire: Adverse Selection and Welfare in Social Security," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 818, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Aug 2013.
    10. Benjamin R. Handel & Jonathan T. Kolstad, 2013. "Health Insurance for “Humans”: Information Frictions, Plan Choice, and Consumer Welfare," NBER Working Papers 19373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:78:y:2010:i:3:p:1031-1092. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.