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Accounting for non-annuitization

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  • Svetlana Pashchenko

Abstract

Why don't people buy annuities? Several explanations have been provided by the previous literature: large fraction of preannuitized wealth in retirees' portfolios; adverse selection; bequest motives; and medical expense uncertainty. This paper uses a quantitative model to assess the importance of these impediments to annuitization and also studies three newer explanations: government safety net in terms of means-tested transfers; illiquidity of housing wealth; and restrictions on minimum amount of investment in annuities. This paper shows that quantitatively the last three explanations play a big role in reducing annuity demand. The minimum consumption floor turns out to be important to explain the lack of annuitization, especially for people in lower income quintiles, who are well insured by this provision. The minimum annuity purchase requirement involves big upfront investment and is binding for many, especially if housing wealth cannot be easily annuitized. Among the traditional explanations, preannuitized wealth has the largest quantitative contribution to the annuity puzzle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-03.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-03

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Keywords: Accounting;

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References

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  1. David Love & Michael Palumbo & Paul Smith, 2008. "The Trajectory of Wealth in Retirement," Department of Economics Working Papers 2008-10, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Gaobo Pang, Mark J. Warshawsk, . "Optimizing the Equity-Bond-Annuity Portfolio in Retirement: The Impact of Uncertain Health Expenses," Research Reports 4, Watson Wyatt Worldwide.
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  4. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
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  8. Kopecky, Karen A. & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2009. "The Impact of Medical and Nursing Home Expenses and Social Insurance Policies on Savings and Inequality," MPRA Paper 16197, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Eichenbaum, Martin S & Peled, Dan, 1987. "Capital Accumulation and Annuities in an Adverse Selection Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 334-54, April.
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  15. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2005. "Differential mortality, uncertain medical expenses, and the saving of elderly singles," Working Paper Series WP-05-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  16. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  17. 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.
  18. Lina Walker, 2004. "Elderly Households and Housing Wealth: Do They Use It or Lose It?," Working Papers wp070, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  19. Jeske, Karsten & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: Can a regressive policy improve welfare?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 210-221, March.
  20. Karen A. Kopecky & Tatyana Koreshkova, 2010. "The impact of medical and nursing home expenses and social insurance," Working Paper 2010-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  21. Dushi, Irena & Webb, Anthony, 2004. "Household annuitization decisions: simulations and empirical analyses," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 109-143, July.
  22. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  23. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2007. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Bequest and Precautionary Motives," NBER Working Papers 13105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Why is barely anyone buying annuities?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-01-10 15:04:00
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Cited by:
  1. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C. & Zeldes, Stephen P., 2014. "What makes annuitization more appealing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 2-16.
    • John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2012. "What Makes Annuitization More Appealing?," NBER Chapters, in: Retirement Benefits for State and Local Employees: Designing Pension Plans for the Twenty-First Century National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bütler, Monika & Peijnenburg, Kim & Staubli, Stefan, 2011. "How Much Do Means-Tested Benefits Reduce the Demand for Annuities?," Economics Working Paper Series 1124, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  3. Bagchi, Shantanu, 2013. "Is the Social Security Crisis Really as Bad as We Think?," MPRA Paper 56294, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2014.
  4. Frank Caliendo & Nick Guo & Roozbeh Hosseini, . "Social Security is NOT a Substitute for Annuity Markets," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Ben J. Heijdra & Jochen O. Mierau & Timo Trimborn, 2014. "Stimulating Annuity Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 4827, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.

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