Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle
Rational models of risk-averse consumers have difficulty explaining limited annuity demand. We posit that consumers evaluate annuity products using a narrow "investment frame" that focuses on risk and return, rather than a "consumption frame" that considers the consequences for lifelong consumption. Under an investment frame, annuities are quite unattractive, exhibiting high risk without high returns. Survey evidence supports this hypothesis: whereas 72 percent of respondents prefer a life annuity over a savings account when the choice is framed in terms of consumption, only 21 percent of respondents prefer it when the choice is framed in terms of investment features.
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Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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- Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
- Jeffrey R. Brown, 2007. "Rational and Behavioral Perspectives on the Role of Annuities in Retirement Planning," NBER Working Papers 13537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard H. Thaler, 2008.
"Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,"
INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
- Mullainathan, Sendhil & Brown, Jeffrey R. & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Wrobel, Marian Vaillant, 2008.
"Why Don't People Insure Late Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle,"
2799056, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 304-09, May.
- Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don't People Insure Late Life Consumption: A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 13748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Read, Daniel & Loewenstein, George & Rabin, Matthew, 1999. "Choice Bracketing," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 171-97, December.
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