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Ambiguous Life Expectancy and the Demand for Annuities

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Abstract

In this paper, ambiguity aversion to uncertain survival probabilities is introduced in a life-cycle model with a bequest motive to study the optimal demand for annuities. Provided that annuities return is sufficiently large, and notably when it is fair, positive annuitization is known to be optimal strategy of ambiguity neutral individuals. Conversely, we show that the demand for annuities decreases with ambiguity aversion and that there exists a finite degree of aversion above which the demand is non positive : the optimal strategy is then to either sell annuities short or to hold zero annuities if the former option is not available. To conclude, ambiguity aversion appears as a relevant candidate for explaining the annuity puzzle.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 12050.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:12050

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Keywords: Demand for annuities; uncertain survival probabilities; ambiguity aversion.;

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  1. Hippolyte D'Albis & Emmanuel Thibault, 2012. "Optimal annuitization, uncertain survival probabilities, and maxmin preferences," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" hal-00670320, HAL.
  2. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity," Working Papers 200903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. Horneff, Wolfram J. & Maurer, Raimond H. & Stamos, Michael Z., 2008. "Life-cycle asset allocation with annuity markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 3590-3612, November.
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  29. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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