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Adverse Selection in Private Annuity Markets and the Role of Mandatory Social Annuitization


  • Ben Heijdra


  • Laurie Reijnders



We study the effects on the macroeconomic equilibrium, the wealth distribution, and welfare of adverse selection in private annuity markets in a closed economy inhabited by overlapping generations of heterogeneous agents who are distinguished by their health status. If an agent’s health type is private information there will be a pooling equilibrium in the private annuity market. We also study the implications for the macro-economy and welfare of a social security system with mandatory contributions that are constant across health types. These social annuities are immune to adverse selection and therefore offer a higher rate of return than private annuities do. However, they have a negative effect on the steady-state capital intensity and welfare. The positive effect of a fair pooled rate of return on a fixed part of savings and a higher return on capital in equilibrium is outweighed by the negative consequences of increased adverse selection in the private annuity market and a lower wage rate. Copyright The Author(s) 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Heijdra & Laurie Reijnders, 2012. "Adverse Selection in Private Annuity Markets and the Role of Mandatory Social Annuitization," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 311-337, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:decono:v:160:y:2012:i:3:p:311-337 DOI: 10.1007/s10645-012-9191-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cannon, Edmund & Tonks, Ian, 2008. "Annuity Markets," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199216994.
    2. Pecchenino, Rowena A & Pollard, Patricia S, 1997. "The Effects of Annuities, Bequests, and Aging in an Overlapping Generations Model of Endogenous Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 26-46, January.
    3. Ben J. Heijdra & Jochen O. Mierau & Laurie S. M. Reijnders, 2010. "The Tragedy of Annuitization," CESifo Working Paper Series 3141, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Mark V. Pauly, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62.
    5. 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 373-393, June.
    6. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-1097, September.
    7. Ben Heijdra & Laurie Reijnders, 2013. "Economic Growth and Longevity Risk with Adverse Selection," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 69-97, March.
    8. Heijdra, Ben J. & Mierau, Jochen O., 2012. "The individual life-cycle, annuity market imperfections and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 876-890.
    9. Bertrand Villeneuve, 2003. "Mandatory Pensions and the Intensity of Adverse Selection in Life Insurance Markets," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(3), pages 527-548.
    10. Oded Palmon & Avia Spivak, 2007. "Adverse selection and the market for annuities," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 32(1), pages 37-59, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ben J. Heijdra & Yang Jiang & Jochen O. Mierau, 2017. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Longevity Risk under Private and Public Insurance and Asymmetric Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 6767, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Ben Heijdra & Laurie Reijnders, 2013. "Economic Growth and Longevity Risk with Adverse Selection," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 69-97, March.
    3. Nick Draper & André Nibbelink & Johannes Uhde, 2013. "An Assessment of Alternatives for the Dutch First Pension Pillar, The Design of Pension Schemes," CPB Discussion Paper 259, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item


    Annuity markets; Adverse selection; Overlapping generations; Demography; D52; D91; E10; J10;

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General


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