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Annuity Markets, Savings, and the Capital Stock

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  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • John B. Shoven
  • Avia Spivak

Abstract

This article examines how the availability of annuities affects savings and inequality in economies in which neither private nor public pensions initially exist. The absence of widespread market or government annuity insurance is clearly descriptive of many less developed countries in the world today; it was also a characteristic of virtually all countries prior to World War II. The paper compares economies with perfect insurance with economies in which completely selfish parents and children pool longevity risk to their mutual advantage. The analysis of the latter economies takes into account the infinite sequence of risk sharing bargains of successive parents with their children. Such bargains affect current risk sharing between parents and child because they determine the welfare of current children when they become parents. Calculations based on the CBS utility function indicate that perfecting annuity insurance can significantly reduce national savings. Indeed, the insurance aspects of government pensions are potentially as important as underfunding government pensions in reducing national savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1983. "Annuity Markets, Savings, and the Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 1250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1250
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-577, June.
    4. 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 372-391, April.
    5. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
    6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    7. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    8. Eytan Sheshinski & Yoram Weiss, 1981. "Uncertainty and Optimal Social Security Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 96(2), pages 189-206.
    9. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-791, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    2. Michael D. Hurd, 1989. "The Poverty of Widows: Future Prospects," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Aging, pages 201-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
    4. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Contribution of Intergenerational Transfers to Total Wealth: A Reply," NBER Working Papers 1827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1984. "The Impact of Annuity Insurance on Savings and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 1403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
    8. Sven H. Sinclair & Kent A. Smetters, 2004. "Health Shocks and the Demand for Annuities: Technical Paper 2004-09," Working Papers 15868, Congressional Budget Office.
    9. Hugo Benitez-Silva, 2000. "A Dynamic Model of Labor Supply, Consumption/Saving, and Annuity Decisions under Uncertainty," Department of Economics Working Papers 00-06, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    10. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1984. "'Precautionary' Saving Revisited: Social Security, Individual Welfare, and the Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 1430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
    12. Hugo Benítez-Silva, 2003. "The Annuity Puzzle Revisited," Working Papers wp055, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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