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Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks

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  • Lee M. Lockwood

Abstract

Despite facing significant uncertainty about their lifespans and health care costs, most retirees do not buy annuities or long-term care insurance. In this paper, I find that retirees' saving and insurance choices are highly inconsistent with standard life cycle models in which people care only about their own consumption but match well models in which bequests are luxury goods. Bequest motives tend to reduce the value of insurance by reducing the opportunity cost of precautionary saving. The results suggest that bequest motives significantly increase saving and significantly decrease purchases of long-term care insurance and annuities.

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  • Lee M. Lockwood, 2018. "Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(9), pages 2513-2550, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:9:p:2513-50
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20141651
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2007. "To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 207-235.
    2. Goda, Gopi Shah, 2011. "The impact of state tax subsidies for private long-term care insurance on coverage and Medicaid expenditures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 744-757, August.
    3. Susann Rohwedder & Steven J. Haider & Michael D. Hurd, 2006. "INCREASES IN WEALTH AMONG THE ELDERLY IN THE EARLY 1990s: HOW MUCH IS DUE TO SURVEY DESIGN?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(4), pages 509-524, December.
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    6. Ettner, Susan L, 1994. "The Effect of the Medicaid Home Care Benefit on Long-Term Care Choices of the Elderly," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 103-127, January.
    7. Sloan, Frank A & Norton, Edward C, 1997. "Adverse Selection, Bequests, Crowding Out, and Private Demand for Insurance: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 201-219, December.
    8. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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