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Differentiated Annuities in a Pooling Equilibrium

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  • Eytan Sheshinski

Abstract

Regular annuities provide payment for the duration of an owner’s lifetime. Period-Certain annuities provide additional payment after death to a beneficiary provided the insured dies within a certain period after annuitization. It has been argued that the bequest option offered by the latter is dominated by life insurance which provides non-random bequests. This is correct if competitive annuity and life insurance markets have full information about individual longevities. In contrast, this paper shows that when individual longevities are private information, a competitive pooling equilibrium which offers annuities at common prices to all individuals may have positive amounts of both types of annuities in addition to life insurance. In this equilibrium, individuals self-select the types of annuities that they purchase according to their longevity prospects. The break-even price of each type of annuity reflects the average longevity of its buyers. The broad conclusion that emerges from this paper is that adverse-selection due to asymmetric information is reflected not only in the amounts of insurance purchased but, importantly, also in the choice of insurance products suitable for different individual characteristics. This conclusion is supported by recent empirical work about the UK annuity market (Finkelstein and Poterba (2004)).
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Suggested Citation

  • Eytan Sheshinski, 2006. "Differentiated Annuities in a Pooling Equilibrium," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000474, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:321307000000000474
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 2001. "The Role of Annuity Markets in Financing Retirement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262529130, January.
    2. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-1097, September.
    3. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2004. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 183-208, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2002. "Selection Effects in the United Kingdom Individual Annuities Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 28-50, January.
    6. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Paul Schrimpf, 2007. "The Welfare Cost of Asymmetric Information: Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," NBER Working Papers 13228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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