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Optimum Taxation of Life Annuities

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  • Johann K. Brunner
  • Susanne Pech

Abstract

The market for private life annuities is characterised by adverse selection, that is, contracts offer lower than fair payoffs to individuals with low life expectancy. Moreover, life expectancy and income have been found to be positively correlated. The paper shows that a linear tax on annuity payoffs, which raises more revenues from long-living individuals than from short-living, represents an appropriate instrument for redistribution, in addition to an optimally designed labour income tax. Further, we find that a nonlinear tax on annuity payoffs can be directly employed to correct the distortion of the rate of return caused by asymmetric information. These results are contrasted with theoretical findings concerning the role of a tax on capital income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1642.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1642

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Keywords: optimum taxation; life annuities; adverse selection;

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  1. Ordover, J. A. & Phelps, E. S., 1979. "The concept of optimal taxation in the overlapping-generations model of capital and wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-26, August.
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  3. O. Attanasio & H. W. Hoynes, . "Differential mortality and wealth accumulation," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1079-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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  7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting," Working Papers 508, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  9. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2000. "Adverse selection in the annuity market when payoffs vary over the time of retirement," Economics working papers 2000-30, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  10. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, 2001. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," CORE Discussion Papers 2001020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Whitehouse, Edward, 1999. "The tax treatment of funded pensions," Social Protection Discussion Papers 20126, The World Bank.
  12. Walliser, Jan, 2000. " Adverse Selection in the Annuities Market and the Impact of Privatizing Social Security," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 373-93, June.
  13. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 2000. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1999. "Taxation and Saving," Working Papers 99007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
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  17. Susanne Pech, 2002. "Tax incentives for private life annuities and the social security reform: Effects on consumption and on adverse selection," Economics working papers 2002-09, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  18. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. " Redistribution with Unobservable Bequests: A Case for Taxing Capital Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(2), pages 253-67, June.
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  20. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2005. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Savings in a Two Class Economy," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0525, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  21. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
  22. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005035 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Pauly, Mark V, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62, February.
  24. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2002. "Selection Effects in the United Kingdom Individual Annuities Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 28-50, January.
  25. Brugiavini, Agar, 1993. "Uncertainty resolution and the timing of annuity purchases," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 31-62, January.
  26. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-78, August.
  27. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-97, September.
  28. Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2001. "On optimal non-linear taxation and public good provision in an overlapping generations economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 485-501, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Bommier, Antoine & Leroux, Marie-Louise & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie, 2011. "On the public economics of annuities with differential mortality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 612-623.
  2. Direr, A., 2010. "The taxation of life annuities under adverse selection," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 50-58, February.

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