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The Role of the Annuity’s Value on the Decision (Not) to Annuitize: Evidence from a Large Policy Change

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Listed:
  • Monika Bütler
  • Stefan Staubli
  • Maria Grazia Zito

Abstract

This paper presents new evidence on how the annuitization decision is affected by changes in the annuity’s value. We take advantage of an unprecendented change in policy, which in 2004 moderated the super-mandatory Swiss occupational pension scheme: The 20 percent reduction in the rate at which retirement capital is translated into a life-long annuity equates to a net present value loss of approximately 20’000 SFR (20’000 US$) for the average retiree. Using administrative data and correcting for anticipation effects, we show that due to the change in policy there was an approximately 8 percentage point change in the share of men choosing to annuitize their savings. We also show that the estimated responsiveness of the cash-out decision to variations in a utility based measure for the annuity value is comparable to results of previous studies, which employed completely different sources of variation in the annuity’s value.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Bütler & Stefan Staubli & Maria Grazia Zito, 2008. "The Role of the Annuity’s Value on the Decision (Not) to Annuitize: Evidence from a Large Policy Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 2376, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2376
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 304-309, May.
    2. Brown, Jeffrey R., 2001. "Private pensions, mortality risk, and the decision to annuitize," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 29-62, October.
    3. Olivia S. Mitchell & David McCarthy, 2002. "Annuities for an Ageing World," NBER Working Papers 9092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2007. "Rational and Behavioral Perspectives on the Role of Annuities in Retirement Planning," NBER Working Papers 13537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Butler, Monika & Teppa, Federica, 2007. "The choice between an annuity and a lump sum: Results from Swiss pension funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1944-1966, November.
    9. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    annuity puzzle; occupational pension; policy change;

    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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