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Health and Mortality Delta: Assessing the Welfare Cost of Household Insurance Choice

  • Ralph Koijen
  • Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
  • Motohiro Yogo

We develop a pair of risk measures, health and mortality delta, for the universe of life and health insurance products. A life-cycle model of insurance choice simplifies to replicating the optimal health and mortality delta through a portfolio of insurance products. We estimate the model to explain the observed variation in health and mortality delta implied by the ownership of life insurance, annuities including private pensions, and long-term care insurance in the Health and Retirement Study. For the median household aged 51 to 57, the lifetime welfare cost of market incompleteness and suboptimal choice is 3.2% of total wealth.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17325.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17325.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17325
Note: AG AP HE
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  4. Motohiro Yogo, 2009. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing and Risky Assets," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-3, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jan 2009.
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  12. Amy Finkelstein & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2008. "What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 14089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. 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.
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  22. Joachim Inkmann & Alexander Michaelides, 2012. "Can the Life Insurance Market Provide Evidence for a Bequest Motive?," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 79(3), pages 671-695, 09.
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  25. Julien Hugonnier & Florian Pelgrin, 2013. "Health and (Other) Asset Holdings," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 663-710.
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