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How Much Do Means-Tested Benefits Reduce the Demand for Annuities?

Author

Listed:
  • Monika Bütler
  • Kim Peijnenburg

    (Department of Finance, Tilburg University, The Netherlands)

  • Stefan Staubli

Abstract

We analyze the effect of means-tested benefits on annuitization decisions. Most industrialized countries provide a subsistence level consumption floor in old age, usually in the form of means-tested benefits. The availability of such means-tested payments creates an incentive to cash out (occupational) pension wealth for low and middle income earners, instead of taking the annuity. Agents trade-off the advantages from annuitization, receiving the wealth-enhancing mortality credit, to the disadvantages, giving up “free” wealth in the form of means-tested supplemental benefits. We find that the availability of means-tested benefits can reduce the desired annuitization levels substantially. Using individual level data, we show that the model’s predicted annuitization rates as a function of the level of pension wealth are roughly consistent with the cash-out patterns of occupational pension wealth observed in Switzerland.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Bütler & Kim Peijnenburg & Stefan Staubli, 2013. "How Much Do Means-Tested Benefits Reduce the Demand for Annuities?," NRN working papers 2013-11, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2013_11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barbezug des PK Vermögens? Teil 2
      by Monika Bütler in BATZ.ch on 2014-07-04 18:27:54

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    4. Reto Foellmi & Isabel Z. Martínez, 2017. "Volatile Top Income Shares in Switzerland? Reassessing the Evolution between 1981 and 2010," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(5), pages 793-809, December.
    5. Hardy Hulley & Rebecca Mckibbin & Andreas Pedersen & Susan Thorp, 2013. "Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 31-51, March.
    6. Gasche, Martin & Lamla, Bettina, 2012. "Erwartete Altersarmut in Deutschland: Pessimismus und Fehleinschätzungen – Ergebnisse aus der SAVE-Studie," MEA discussion paper series 201213, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    7. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C. & Zeldes, Stephen P., 2014. "What makes annuitization more appealing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 2-16.
    8. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Härtl, Klaus & Leite, Duarte N., 2018. "Earnings test, non-actuarial adjustments and flexible retirement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 78-83.
    9. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Health Cost Risk and Optimal Retirement Provision : A Simple Rule for Annuity Demand," Discussion Paper 2010-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2019. "Accounting for Social Security Claiming Behavior," Working Papers 2019-068, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    11. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Optimal Annuitization with Incomplete Annuity Markets and Background Risk During Retirement," Other publications TiSEM 0b8e2130-a64a-48c1-97d6-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    12. Peijnenburg, Kim & Nijman, Theo & Werker, Bas J.M., 2016. "The annuity puzzle remains a puzzle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 18-35.
    13. Fedor Iskhakov & Susan Thorp & Hazel Bateman, 2015. "Optimal Annuity Purchases for Australian Retirees," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 91(293), pages 139-154, June.
    14. Monika Bütler & Stefan Staubli, 2010. "Payouts in Switzerland: Explaining Developments in Annuitization," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-06, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    15. Siqi Tang & Sachi Purcal & Jinhui Zhang, 2018. "Life Insurance and Annuity Demand under Hyperbolic Discounting," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 1-10, April.
    16. Hagen, Johannes & Hallberg, Daniel & Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella, 2018. "A nudge to quit? The effect of a change in pension information on annuitization, labor supply and retirement choices among older workers," GLO Discussion Paper Series 209, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    means-tested benefits; occupational pension; annuity; life-cycle model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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