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Adverse Selection with individual- and joint-life annuities

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This paper includes couples on the demand side and analyses their implications on the problem of adverse selection in the annuity market. First, we examine the pooling equilibrium for individual-life annuities and show that in the presence of couples the rate of return on individuallife annuities is lower in case that couples do not have the advantage of joint consumption of "family public goods" as well as in case of a logarithmic utility function. Second, we examine the market for joint-life annuities. Due to their higher chance that only one partner survives to the retirement, couples with short-lived partners put more weight on the survivor benefit than couples with at least one longer-lived partner. This fact is used by annuity companies to separate couples according to their partners' life-expectancies. Hence, we find that only a separating equilibrium may exist. These results are obtained in a framework where couples are mandated to buy joint-life annuities and only single persons buy individual-life annuities. When relaxing this assumption by allowing couples to choose between individual- and joint-life annuities, we find that in equilibrium couples with long-lived partners buy individual-life annuities, while couples with short-lived partners buy joint-life annuities. However, couples with one long-lived and one short-lived partner may decide for either type of annuities, depending on the exogenous parameters. Accordingly, we identify two different types of equilibria.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2004-12.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2004_12

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Keywords: annuity market; uncertain lifetime; adverse selection; equilibrium;

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  1. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia, 1981. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 372-91, April.
  2. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2002. "Adverse Selection in the Annuity Market with Sequential and Simultaneous Insurance Demand," CESifo Working Paper Series 783, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, . "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-9, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Peter Townley & Robin Boadway, 1986. "Social Security and the Failure of Annuity Markets," Working Papers 652, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
  8. Andrew B. Abel, 1987. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  11. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
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