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Social security, life insurance and annuities for families

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  • Hong, Jay H.
  • Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor

Abstract

We revisit the issue of the usefulness of Social Security when there are frictions that prevent the existence of a fluid market for annuities. We model households as families and not as individual agents which provides a rationale for the existence of life insurance. Moreover, our structure also allows us to incorporate altruism towards dependents, providing for a unified picture of the various risks associated to the timing of death. The simultaneous existence of widespread life insurance and very limited annuities holdings is part of our quest. We want to know whether the lack of annuities is a product of the existence of social security or whether it is due to more fundamental problems (the moral hazard of house ownership, the adverse selection that it is way harder to detect in the case of long lived than in those that are likely to die soon). In our research we will explore various possible configurations of privately provided annuities (from inexistence to fully and cheaply provided to expensive and limited to financial and non housing levels), and how their existence is affected by Social Security, both in its basic form and in its Survivors Benefits program.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 54 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 118-140

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:54:y:2007:i:1:p:118-140

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Julio Davila & Jay H. Hong & Per Krusell & José-Victor Rios Rull, 2005. "Constrained efficiency in the neoclassical growth model with uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) b05066, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  2. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-97, September.
  3. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  4. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  5. Jay H. Hong & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2012. "Life Insurance and Household Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3701-30, December.
  6. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-46, September.
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