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The History of Annuities in the United States

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  • James M. Poterba

Abstract

This paper summarizes the development of private annuity markets in the United States. Annuities constituted a small share of the U.S. insurance market until the 1930s, when two developments contributed to their growth. First, concerns about the stability of the financial system drove investors to products offered by insurance companies, which were perceived to be stable institutions. Flexible payment deferred annuities, which permit investors to save and accumulate assets as well as draw down principal, grew rapidly in this period. Second, the group annuity market for corporate pension plans began to develop in the 1930s. The group annuity market grew more rapidly than the individual annuity market for several decades after World War II. The most recent development in the annuity marketplace has been the rapid expansion of variable annuities. These annuity products combine the investment features of mutual funds with the tax deferral available for life insurance products. Variable annuity premium payments increased by a factor of five in the most recent five years for which data are available.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6001.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
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Publication status: Published as "Comparing the Cost of Capital in the United States and Japan: A Survey of Methods", FRBNY, Vol. 15, nos. 3/4 (1990): 20-32.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6001

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  1. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1986. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Working Papers 1879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1.
  3. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2002. "Adverse selection in the annuity market with sequential and simultaneous insurance demand," Economics working papers 2002-04, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Nicolas R. Blancher & François Haas & John Kiff & Oksana Khadarina & Paul S. Mills & Parmeshwar Ramlogan & William Lee & Yoon Sook Kim & Todd Groome & Shinobu Nakagawa, 2006. "The Limits of Market-Based Risk Transfer and Implications for Managing Systemic Risks," IMF Working Papers 06/217, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Kyal Berends & Robert McMenamin & Thanases Plestis & Richard J. Rosen, 2013. "The sensitivity of life insurance firms to interest rate changes," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 47-78.
  4. Vora, Premal P. & McGinnis, John D., 2000. "The asset allocation decision in retirement: lessons from dollar-cost averaging," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 47-63, 00.
  5. Michiel Bijlsma & Machiel van Dijk & Marc Pomp & Cora Zonderland, 2005. "Competition in markets for life insurance," CPB Document 96, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  6. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
  7. Peter Diamond, 1998. "The Economics of Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 6719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. William M. Gentry & Joseph Milano, 1998. "Taxes and Investment in Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Li Gan & Guan Gong, 2005. "Subjective Morality Risks and Bequests," 2005 Meeting Papers 900, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Hans-Martin von Gaudecker, & Carsten Weber, 2003. "Surprises in a Growing Market Niche," MEA discussion paper series 03029, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  11. Guan Gong & Anthony Webb, 2006. "Mortality Heterogeneity and The Distributional Consequences of Mandatory Annuitization," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-11, Center for Retirement Research.
  12. Villeneuve, Bertrand, 2000. "Life Insurance," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5369, Paris Dauphine University.
  13. Allison Schrager & G. A. Mackenzie, 2004. "Can the Private Annuity Market Provide Secure Retirement Income?," IMF Working Papers 04/230, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Koijen, R.S.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2006. "Optimal Portfolio Choice with Annuitization," Discussion Paper 2006-78, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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