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The Australian annuity market

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  • Knox, David
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    Abstract

    In Australia, a means-tested old-age public pension is paid from general tax revenues. A full pension (equivalent to roughly a quarter of the average wage) is currently paid to more than half the aged population, and a reduced pension is paid to another quarter of the aged population. About 20 percent receive no old-age public pension because of the level of their income or assets. There is also a compulsory system under which employers contribute at least 7 percent of salaries into a superannuation plan for the vast majority of employees. (This minimum rate will gradually rise to 9 percent in 2002.) More than 80 percent of superannuation benefits are received as lump sums; when public sector employees are excluded, the figure rises to almost 90 percent. The market for private life annuities with longevity insurance is very small. Greater use is made of allocated annuities, which are similar to income drawdowns in the United Kingdom or scheduled withdrawals in Latin American countries. The value of life annuities, measured by the money's worth ratio, compares favorably with that of annuities available in the United Kingdom and United States. But these ratios are calculated on the basis of conservative government bond yields. Many investors prefer allocated annuities--which are perceived to offer considerable advantages in flexibility and higher potential returns--despite the absence of longevity insurance.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2495.

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    Date of creation: 30 Nov 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2495

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    Related research

    Keywords: Insurance&Risk Mitigation; Pensions&Retirement Systems; Economic Theory&Research; Health Economics&Finance; Environmental Economics&Policies;

    References

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    1. James M. Poterba & Mark Warshawsky, 2000. "The Costs of Annuitizing Retirement Payouts from Individual Accounts," NBER Chapters, in: Administrative Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 173-206 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
    3. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 1999. "Selection Effects in the Market for Individual Annuities: New Evidence from the United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 7168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Impavido, Gregorio & Thorburn, Craig & Wadsworth, Mike, 2004. "A conceptual framework for retirement products : Risk sharing arrangements between providers and retirees," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3208, The World Bank.

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