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Evidence on Individual Preferences for Longevity Risk

  • Gaëtan Delprat
  • Marie-Louise Leroux
  • Pierre-Carl Michaud

The standard model of intertemporal choice assumes risk neutrality toward the length of life: due to additivity, agents are not sensitive to a mean preserving spread in the length of life. Using a survey fielded in the RAND American Life Panel (ALP), this paper provides empirical evidence on possible deviation from risk neutrality with respect to longevity in the U.S. population. The questions we ask allow to find the distribution as well as to quantify the degree of risk aversion with respect to the length of life in the population. We find evidence that roughly 75% of respondents were not neutral with respect to longevity risk. Higher income households are more likely to be risk averse. We do not find evidence that the degree of risk aversion varies with age or education.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4196.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4196
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  1. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  2. Antoine Bommier & Bertrand Villeneuve, 2010. "Risk Aversion and the Value of Risk to Life," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 10/133, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  3. Antoine Bommier, 2006. "Uncertain Lifetime And Intertemporal Choice: Risk Aversion As A Rationale For Time Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1223-1246, November.
  4. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-53, July.
  5. Leroux, M.-L. & Pestieau, P. & Ponthiere, G., 2011. "Longevity, genes and efforts: An optimal taxation approach to prevention," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 62-76, January.
  6. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564934 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Luc Arrondel & André Masson & Daniel Verger, 2005. "Mesurer les préférences individuelles à l'égard du risque," Post-Print halshs-00754086, HAL.
  8. Antoine Bommier & Marie-Louise Leroux & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "On the Public Economics of Annuities with Differential Mortality," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 10/135, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  9. Joseph E. Aldy & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Age Variations in Workers' Value of Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 10199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marc Fleurbaey & Marie-Louise Leroux & Grégory Ponthière, 2010. "Compensating the dead? Yes we can!," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564934, HAL.
  11. Antoine Bommier & Marie-Louise Leroux & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2011. "Differential mortality and social security," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 273-289, February.
  12. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
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