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Optimum Taxation of Life Annuities

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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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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2005-06.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2005_06

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Keywords: Optimum taxation; life annuities; adverse selection;

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  1. Susanne Pech, 2004. "Tax Incentives for Private Life Annuities and the Social Security Reform: Effects on Consumption and on Adverse Selection," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(4), pages 556-, December.
  2. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Capital Income Taxation when Inherited wealth is not Observable," IDEI Working Papers 109, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2001.
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  19. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2001. "Adverse Selection in the Annuity Market when Payoffs Vary over the Time of Retirement," CESifo Working Paper Series 412, CESifo Group Munich.
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  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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  28. Burman, Leonard E. & Gale, William G. & Hall, Matthew & Orszag, Peter R., 2004. "Distributional Effects of Defined Contribution Plans and Individual Retirement Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(3), pages 671-701, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Antoine Bommier & Marie-Louise Leroux & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "On the Public Economics of Annuities with Differential Mortality," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 10/135, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  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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