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The Annuitization of Americans' Resources: A Cohort Analysis

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  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • John Sabelhaus
  • David N. Weil

Abstract

This paper constructs a unique cohort data set to study the changes since 1960 in the share of Americans' resources that are annuitized. Understanding these changes is important because the larger this share, the more cohorts are likely to consume and the less they are likely to bequeath. Hence, the degree of annuitization affects national saving as well as the transmission of inequality over time. Our findings are striking. Although the annuitized share of resources of younger Americans declined slightly between 1960 and 1990, it increased dramatically for older Americans. It doubled for older men and quadrupled for older women. Since the elderly have much higher mortality probabilities than do the young, their degree of annuitization is much more important for aggregate bequests and saving. According to our estimates, aggregate U.S. bequests would now be 66 percent larger had the post-1960 increase in annuitization not occurred. In addition, U.S. national saving would likely be substantially larger than is currently the case.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5089.

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Date of creation: Apr 1995
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Publication status: published as Kotlikoff, Laurence J. (ed.) Essays on Saving, Bequests, Altruism, and Life-Cycle Planning. 2001.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5089

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  1. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David N. Weil, 1992. "The Increasing Annuitization of the Elderly- Estimates and Implications for Intergenerational Tranfers, Inequality, and National Saving," NBER Working Papers 4182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts - A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Working Papers 3589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1984. "The Impact of Annuity Insurance on Savings and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 1403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Louise Sheiner & David N. Weil, 1992. "The Housing Wealth of the Aged," NBER Working Papers 4115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  8. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2001. "Generational Policy," NBER Working Papers 8163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Altig & Jagadeesh Gokhale, 1997. "Social Security privatization: a simple proposal," Working Paper 9703, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Kam Ki Tang & Jie Zhang, 2007. "Morbidity, Mortality, Health Expenditures and Annuitization," CESifo Working Paper Series 2086, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 315-407.
  5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1996. "Simulating the Privatization of Social Security in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 5776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2002. "The Impact of Social Security and Other Factors on the Distribution of Wealth," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 85-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1995. "Understanding the postwar decline in United States saving: a cohort analysis," Working Paper 9518, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  8. Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "A társadalombiztosítás privatizálása hogyan működik és miért fontos?
    [Privatization of social security how it works and why it matters?]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1045-1071.
  9. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & James Sefton & Martin Weale, 1998. "Simulating the transmission of wealth inequality via bequests," Working Paper 9811, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1996. "Privatization of Social Security: How It Works and Why It Matters," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 10, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.

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