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Optimum taxation of life annuities

  • Johann Brunner

    ()

  • Susanne Pech

    ()

The market for private life annuities is characterised by adverse selection, that is, contracts offer lower than fair payoffs to individuals with low life expectancy. Moreover, life expectancy and income have been found to be positively correlated. The paper shows that a linear tax on annuity payoffs, which raises more revenues from long-living individuals than from short-living, represents an appropriate instrument for redistribution, in addition to an optimally designed labour income tax. Further, we find that a nonlinear tax on annuity payoffs can be directly employed to correct the distortion of the rate of return caused by asymmetric information. These results are contrasted with theoretical findings concerning the role of a tax on capital income.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00355-007-0232-5
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 285-303

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:30:y:2008:i:2:p:285-303
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  1. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
  2. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  3. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
  4. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2002. "Selection Effects in the United Kingdom Individual Annuities Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 28-50, January.
  5. Brugiavini, Agar, 1993. "Uncertainty resolution and the timing of annuity purchases," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 31-62, January.
  6. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  7. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249 Elsevier.
  9. Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2001. "On optimal non-linear taxation and public good provision in an overlapping generations economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 485-501, March.
  10. Bovenberg, A Lans & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Human Capital and Optimal Positive Taxation of Capital Income," CEPR Discussion Papers 5047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 1-29.
  12. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting," Working Papers 508, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Susanne Pech, 2004. "Tax Incentives for Private Life Annuities and the Social Security Reform: Effects on Consumption and on Adverse Selection," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(4), pages 556-, December.
  14. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. " Redistribution with Unobservable Bequests: A Case for Taxing Capital Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(2), pages 253-67, June.
  15. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 1999. "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 563-92, September.
  16. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-78, August.
  17. Whitehouse, Edward, 1999. "The tax treatment of funded pensions," MPRA Paper 14173, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Andrew B. Abel, 1985. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2000. "Adverse selection in the annuity market when payoffs vary over the time of retirement," Economics working papers 2000-30, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  20. Burman, Leonard E. & Gale, William G. & Hall, Matthew & Orszag, Peter R., 2004. "Distributional Effects of Defined Contribution Plans and Individual Retirement Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(3), pages 671-701, September.
  21. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
  22. R Disney & C Emmerson & M Wakefield, 2001. "Pension reform and saving in Britain," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 70-94, Spring.
  23. Pauly, Mark V, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62, February.
  24. 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.
  25. Ordover, J. A. & Phelps, E. S., 1979. "The concept of optimal taxation in the overlapping-generations model of capital and wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-26, August.
  26. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  27. repec:dgr:uvatin:20050035 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2005. "Optimal Nonlinear Taxation of Income and Savings in a Two Class Economy," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0525, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  29. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005035 is not listed on IDEAS
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