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Framing Lifetime Income

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Jeffrey R. Kling
  • Sendhil Mullainathan
  • Marian V. Wrobel

Abstract

We provide evidence that individuals optimize imperfectly when making annuity decisions, and this result is not driven by loss aversion. Life annuities are more attractive when presented in a consumption frame than in an investment frame. Highlighting the purchase price in the consumption frame does not alter this result. The level of habitual spending has little interaction with preferences for annuities in the consumption frame. In an investment frame, consumers prefer annuities with principal guarantees; this result is similar for guarantee amounts below, at, and above the purchase price. We discuss implications for the retirement services industry and its regulators.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19063.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19063

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  1. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. Saku Aura, . "Does the balance of power within a family matter? The case of the Retirement Equity Act," Working Papers 202, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Monika Bütler & Federica Teppa, 2007. "The choice between an annuity and a lump sum: Results from Swiss pension funds," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 1944-1966 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 304-09, May.
  5. Friedman, Benjamin M & Warshawsky, Mark J, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-54, February.
  6. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
  7. Dushi, Irena & Webb, Anthony, 2004. "Household annuitization decisions: simulations and empirical analyses," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 109-143, July.
  8. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Milevsky, Moshe A. & Young, Virginia R., 2007. "Annuitization and asset allocation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 3138-3177, September.
  10. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia, 1981. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 372-91, April.
  11. Felix Reichling & Kent Smetters, 2013. "Optimal Annuitization with Stochastic Mortality Probabilities," NBER Working Papers 19211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
  13. Julie R. Agnew & Lisa R. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Gerlach & Lisa R. Szykman, 2008. "Who Chooses Annuities? An Experimental Investigation of the Role of Gender, Framing, and Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 418-22, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey R. Brown & James Poterba & David Richardson, 2014. "Do Required Minimum Distributions Matter? The Effect of the 2009 Holiday On Retirement Plan Distributions," NBER Working Papers 20464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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