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Accounting for non-annuitization

  • Svetlana Pashchenko

Why don't people buy annuities? Several explanations have been provided by the previous literature: large fraction of preannuitized wealth in retirees' portfolios; adverse selection; bequest motives; and medical expense uncertainty. This paper uses a quantitative model to assess the importance of these impediments to annuitization and also studies three newer explanations: government safety net in terms of means-tested transfers; illiquidity of housing wealth; and restrictions on minimum amount of investment in annuities. This paper shows that quantitatively the last three explanations play a big role in reducing annuity demand. The minimum consumption floor turns out to be important to explain the lack of annuitization, especially for people in lower income quintiles, who are well insured by this provision. The minimum annuity purchase requirement involves big upfront investment and is binding for many, especially if housing wealth cannot be easily annuitized. Among the traditional explanations, preannuitized wealth has the largest quantitative contribution to the annuity puzzle.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-03.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-03
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  8. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, . "The Role of Real Annuities and Indexed Bonds In An Individual Accounts Retirement Program," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Martin S. Eichenbaum & Dan S. Peled, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Annuities in an Adverse Selection Economy," NBER Working Papers 2046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Jeske, Karsten & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: Can a regressive policy improve welfare?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 210-221, March.
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  16. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2006. "Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles," 2006 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  20. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  21. Roozbeh Hosseini, 2008. "Adverse Selection in the Annuity Market and the Role for Social Security," 2008 Meeting Papers 264, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  25. Dushi, Irena & Webb, Anthony, 2004. "Household annuitization decisions: simulations and empirical analyses," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 109-143, July.
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