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Navigating Complex Financial Decisions at Retirement: Evidence from Annuity Choices in Public Sector Pensions

In: Incentives and Limitations of Employment Policies on Retirement Transitions


  • Robert L. Clark
  • Robert G. Hammond
  • David Vanderweide


Choices regarding the disposition of wealth at retirement can have substantial implications for retirement income security. We analyze the factors determining annuity option choices offered by a public sector defined pension plan with no default annuity option. Using combined administrative records and survey data, we explore the role of individual and household characteristics as well as risk preferences, time preferences, and financial literacy. The evidence is consistent with predictions over which households might benefit most from each annuity option. Comparing retirees who chose different annuities, we find that these groups of retirees report very different levels of well-being in retirement.
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Suggested Citation

  • Robert L. Clark & Robert G. Hammond & David Vanderweide, 2018. "Navigating Complex Financial Decisions at Retirement: Evidence from Annuity Choices in Public Sector Pensions," NBER Chapters,in: Incentives and Limitations of Employment Policies on Retirement Transitions National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:14177

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    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues


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