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Ambiguous Life Expectancy and the Demand for Annuities

In this paper, ambiguity aversion to uncertain survival probabilities is introduced in a life-cycle model with a bequest motive to study the optimal demand for annuities. Provided that annuities return is sufficiently large, and notably when it is fair, positive annuitization is known to be optimal strategy of ambiguity neutral individuals. Conversely, we show that the demand for annuities decreases with ambiguity aversion and that there exists a finite degree of aversion above which the demand is non positive : the optimal strategy is then to either sell annuities short or to hold zero annuities if the former option is not available. To conclude, ambiguity aversion appears as a relevant candidate for explaining the annuity puzzle.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 12050.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:12050
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  1. Eytan Sheshinski, 2007. "The Economic Theory of Annuities," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8536, March.
  2. Antoine Bommier, 2001. "Uncertain lifetime and intertemporal choice : risk aversion as a rationale for time discounting," Research Unit Working Papers 0108, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  3. 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.
  4. Lex Borghans & Bart H.H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," NBER Working Papers 14713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas Post & Katja Hanewald, 2010. "Stochastic Mortality, Subjective Survival Expectations, and Individual Saving Behavior," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2010-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  6. None, 2008. "None," NBER Working Papers 13800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Horneff, Wolfram J. & Maurer, Raimond H. & Stamos, Michael Z., 2008. "Life-cycle asset allocation with annuity markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 3590-3612, November.
  8. Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2009. "Recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 930-976, May.
  9. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  10. Gollier, Christian, 2009. "Portfolio Choices and Asset Prices: The Comparative Statics of Ambiguity Aversion," TSE Working Papers 09-068, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  11. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2007. "A Parsimonious Model of Subjective Life Expectancy," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-65, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  12. Mary Riddel & W. Shaw, 2006. "A theoretically-consistent empirical model of non-expected utility: An application to nuclear-waste transport," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 131-150, March.
  13. Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don't People Insure Late Life Consumption: A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 13748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nicolas Treich, 2008. "The Value of a Statistical Life under Ambiguity Aversion," CESifo Working Paper Series 2291, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Thibault Gajdos & Takashi Hayashi & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2006. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00130179, HAL.
  16. Shlomo Benartzi & Alessandro Previtero & Richard H. Thaler, 2011. "Annuitization Puzzles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 143-64, Fall.
  17. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
  18. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2002. "A smooth model of decision making under ambiguity," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 11-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research, revised Apr 2003.
  19. Giacomo Ponzetto, 2003. "Risk aversion and the utility of annuities," CeRP Working Papers 31, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  20. Alexander Zimper & Alexander Ludwig & Max Groneck, 2012. "A Life-Cycle Consumption Model with Ambiguous Survival Beliefs," 2012 Meeting Papers 693, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Daniel Ellsberg, 2000. "Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7605, David K. Levine.
  22. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian, 1995. "Demand for Risky Assets and the Monotone Probability Ratio Order," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 113-22, September.
  23. David M Kreps & Evan L Porteus, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000009, David K. Levine.
  24. Thibault, Emmanuel & D'Albis, Hippolyte, 2012. "Optimal annuitization, uncertain survival probabilities, and maxmin preferences," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/9807, Paris Dauphine University.
  25. Hippolyte D'Albis & Emmanuel Thibault, 2012. "Optimal annuitization, uncertain survival probabilities, and maxmin preferences," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" hal-00670320, HAL.
  26. Post Thomas, 2012. "Individual Welfare Gains from Deferred Life-Annuities under Stochastic Mortality," Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-26, June.
  27. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  28. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00670320 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Ryan D. Edwards & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 2005. "Inequality in Life Spans and a New Perspective on Mortality Convergence Across Industrialized Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(4), pages 645-674.
  30. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2007. "Rational and Behavioral Perspectives on the Role of Annuities in Retirement Planning," NBER Working Papers 13537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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