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How Much Do Means-Tested Benefits Reduce the Demand for Annuities?

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  • Monika Butler
  • Kim Peijnenburg
  • Stefan Staubli

Abstract

We analyze the effect of means-tested benefits on annuitization decisions. Most industrialized countries provide a subsistence level consumption floor in old age, usually in the form of means-tested benefits. The availability of such means-tested payments creates an incentive to cash out (occupational) pension wealth for low and middle income earners, instead of taking the annuity. Agents trade-off the advantages from annuitization, receiving the wealth-enhancing mortality credit, to the disadvantages, giving up “free” wealth in the form of means-tested supplemental benefits. We find that the availability of means-tested benefits can reduce the desired annuitization levels substantially. Using individual level data, we show that the model’s predicted annuitization rates as a function of the level of pension wealth are roughly consistent with the cash-out patterns of occupational pension wealth observed in Switzerland.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 418.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:418

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  1. Barbezug des PK Vermögens? Teil 2
    by Monika Bütler in BATZ.ch on 2014-07-04 13:27:54
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Cited by:
  1. Hardy Hulley & Rebecca Mckibbin & Andreas Pedersen & Susan Thorp, 2013. "Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 31-51, 03.
  2. Monika Bütler & Stefan Staubli, 2010. "Payouts in Switzerland: Explaining Developments in Annuitization," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-06, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  3. Gasche, Martin & Lamla, Bettina, 2012. "Erwartete Altersarmut in Deutschland: Pessimismus und Fehleinschätzungen – Ergebnisse aus der SAVE-Studie," MEA discussion paper series 12264, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

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