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Optimum Taxation of Life Annuities

  • Johann K. 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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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1642.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1642
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  7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1999. "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts," NBER Working Papers 7268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. 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.
  12. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  13. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1995. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Incomplete Markets, Borrowing Constraints, and Constant Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1158-75, December.
  14. Brugiavini, Agar, 1993. "Uncertainty resolution and the timing of annuity purchases," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 31-62, January.
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  20. Bas Jacobs & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2005. "Human Capital and Optimal Positive Taxation of Capital Income," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-035/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1991. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," Working Papers 828, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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