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Should you Take a Lump-Sum or Annuitize? Results from Swiss Pension Funds

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  • Monika Buetler
  • Federica Teppa

Abstract

We use a unique dataset on individual retirement decisions in Swiss pension funds to analyze the choice between an annuity and a lump sum at retirement. Our analysis suggests the existence of an “acquiescence bias”, meaning that a majority of retirees chooses the standard option offered by the pensions fund or suggested by common practice. Small levels of accumulated pension capital are much more likely to be withdrawn as a lump sum, suggesting a potential moral hazard behavior or a magnitude effect. We hardly find evidence for adverse selection effects in the data. Single men, for example, whose money’s worth of an annuity is considerably below the corresponding value of married men, are not more likely to choose the capital option.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Buetler & Federica Teppa, 2005. "Should you Take a Lump-Sum or Annuitize? Results from Swiss Pension Funds," CESifo Working Paper Series 1610, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1610
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Butler, Monika & Ruesch, Martin, 2007. "Annuities in Switzerland," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4438, The World Bank.
    2. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2003. "Redistribution and Insurance: Mandatory Annuitization With Mortality Heterogeneity," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(1), pages 17-41.
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    6. Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-684, September.
    7. Hurd, Michael & Panis, Constantijn, 2006. "The choice to cash out pension rights at job change or retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2213-2227, December.
    8. Thomas Davidoff & Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Annuities and Individual Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1573-1590, December.
    9. Queisser, Monika & Vittas, Dimitri, 2000. "The Swiss multi-pillar pension system : triumph of common sense?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2416, The World Bank.
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    14. Elsa Fornero & Elisa Luciano (ed.), 2004. "Developing an Annuity Market in Europe," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3181.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shavit, Tal & Lahav, Eyal & Benzion, Uri, 2013. "Factors affecting soldiers’ time preference: A field study in Israel," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 75-84.
    2. Butler, Monika & Ruesch, Martin, 2007. "Annuities in Switzerland," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4438, The World Bank.
    3. Heidler, Matthias & Raffelhüschen, Bernd & Leifels, Arne, 2006. "Heterogenous life expectancy, adverse selection, and retirement behaviour," FZG Discussion Papers 13, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/179 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupational pension; lump sum; annuity; choice anomalies;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • 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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