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Decaying Asymmetric Information and Adverse Selection in Annuities

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  • David McCarthy

    (Tanaka Business School, Imperial College)

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    Abstract

    This paper develops an equilibrium model of the annuities market where agents have private information about their mortality, and where the predictive value of this information decays over time. The paper shows that in this case, insurance companies will observe a duration-related trend in the mortality of annuitants under certain conditions. This effect is tested for using a Cox proportional hazards methodology and data from the South African annuities market, which since the early 1990’s has permitted phased withdrawals of retirement savings instead of mandating pure annuitisation. Evidence is equivocal: substantial differences are found between the duration-related mortality trends of different insurance companies, data problems seem to have some effect, and factors outside the model which might change the results cannot be excluded. However, the presence of a strong duration-related trend cannot be decisively rejected. The observed trend indicates that mortality at earlier policy durations is better than at later durations by the equivalent of about 6 years of age, although data factors cannot be precluded as a cause of this trend.

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    File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp080.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp080.

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    Length: 48 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp080

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    1. 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.
    2. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Brown, Jeffrey R., 2001. "Private pensions, mortality risk, and the decision to annuitize," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 29-62, October.
    4. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2003. "Redistribution and Insurance: Mandatory Annuitization With Mortality Heterogeneity," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(1), pages 17-41.
    5. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1997. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Samuelson, Paul A, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 239-46, August.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
    10. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-57, August.
    11. Andrew B. Abel, 1985. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "How Strong Are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 899-927, October.
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