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Adverse Selection in the Annuity Market and the Role for Social Security

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  • Roozbeh Hosseini

    (Univeristy of Minnesota)

Abstract

This paper studies the role of social security in providing annuity insurance. I calculate the welfare cost of adverse selection in the annuity market using a life cycle model in which individuals have private information about their mortality. I calibrate the model to the current U.S. social security replacement ratio, fraction of annuitized wealth and mortality heterogeneity in the Health and Retirement Study. My findings are as follows. First, in the absence of social security, individuals (on average) maintain about the same fraction of annuitized wealth as they do in the presence of social security, despite the fact that prices in the market are actuarially unfair. As a result, the welfare loss of abolishing social security is only 0.15 percent (in terms of consumption). Second, there is an ex ante gain of 0.51 percent from implementing the ex ante efficient allocations, which comes from redistributing resources from high mortality types to low mortality types. Individuals with high mortality (who will die soon and do not have demand for longevity insurance) incur large welfare losses from mandatory participation. These losses offset the benefits of providing insurance to low mortality types, leaving the overall ex ante welfare gain small.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 264.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:264

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  1. G. Dionne & N. Doherty & N. Fombaron, 2000. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," THEMA Working Papers 2000-21, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  2. Thomas Davidoff & Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Annuities and Individual Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1573-1590, December.
  3. Bisin, Alberto & Gottardi, Piero, 1999. "Competitive Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-48, July.
  4. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-46, September.
  5. Jay Hong & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Social Security, Life Insurance and Annuities for Families," 2006 Meeting Papers 410, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Eichenbaum, Martin S & Peled, Dan, 1987. "Capital Accumulation and Annuities in an Adverse Selection Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 334-54, April.
  7. Walliser, Jan, 2000. " Adverse Selection in the Annuities Market and the Impact of Privatizing Social Security," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 373-93, June.
  8. Andrew B. Abel, 1985. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Barbara A. Butrica & Gordon B.T. Mermin, 2006. "Annuitized Wealth and Consumption at Older Ages," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-26, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2006.
  10. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
  11. Bisin, Alberto & Gottardi, P. & Guaitoli, D., 1998. "A Note on the Convergence to Competitive Equilibria in Economies with Moral Hazard," Working Papers 98-41, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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Cited by:
  1. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Beyond Testing: Empirical Models of Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 15241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Raj Chetty & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data," NBER Working Papers 18433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Frank Caliendo & Nick Guo & Roozbeh Hosseini, . "Social Security is NOT a Substitute for Annuity Markets," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," NBER Working Papers 14768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Svetlana Pashchenko, 2010. "Accounting for non-annuitization," 2010 Meeting Papers 563, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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