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How Should We Insure Longevity Risk In Pensions And Social Security?

  • Jeffrey R. Brown

As baby boomers approach retirement, individuals and policymakers are increasingly concerned about retirement income security. Thanks to dramatic advances in life expectancy over the last century, today's typical 65-year old man and woman can expect, on average, to live to ages 81 and 85 respectively. Perhaps even more impressive, over 17 percent of 65-year old men and over 31 percent of 65-year old women are expected to live to age 90 or beyond. Most people would agree with President Clinton that increasing life expectancy is "something wonderful." However, uncertainty about length of life carries the risk that individuals may outlive their resources and be forced to substantially reduce their living standards at advanced ages. This issue in brief summarizes a growing body of research on the important role of annuities in the U.S. retirement system.

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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Issues in Brief with number ib-4.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crr:issbrf:ib-4
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  1. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 1999. "Selection Effects in the Market for Individual Annuities: New Evidence from the United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 7168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  4. Coronado Julia Lynn & Fullerton Don & Glass Thomas, 2011. "The Progressivity of Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, November.
  5. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1982. "Expectations, Life Expectancy, and Economic Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2000. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jeffrey R. Brown, 1999. "Are the Elderly Really Over-Annuitized? New Evidence on Life Insurance and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 7193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jeffrey Brown, 2002. "Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 401-446 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Peter A. Diamond, 1999. "What Stock Market Returns To Expect For The Future?," Issues in Brief ib-2, Center for Retirement Research.
  11. Jeffrey R. Brown, 1999. "Private Pensions, Mortality Risk, and the Decision to Annuitize," NBER Working Papers 7191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "How Strong Are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 899-927, October.
  13. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia, 1981. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 372-91, April.
  14. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  15. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, 2000. "Mortality Risk, Inflation Risk, and Annuity Products," NBER Working Papers 7812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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