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Life Insurance of the Elderly: Adequacy and Determinants

  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Despite a general reduction in poverty among the aged, roughly one third of elderly nonmarried women are officially poor. Many of these women are widows.The fact that poverty rates are significantly larger for widows than for married women suggests that many households may fail to buy sufficient life insurance.This paper considers the adequacy and determinants of life insurance among the elderly. Its principal conclusions are:(1) Combined private and public life insurance is inadequate for a significant minority of elderly households;(2) Of those elderly households in which the husband's future income representsa significant fraction of total household resources, roughly half are inadequately insured;(3) Households do not significantly offset Social Security's provision of survivor insurance by reducing their private purchase of life insurance; and(4) The actual determinants of the purchase of life insurance appear to differ greatly from those predicted by economic theory.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1737.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1737.

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Date of creation: Oct 1985
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Publication status: published as Auerbach, Alan and Laurence Kotlikoff. "Life Insurance of the Elderly: Adequacy and Determinants,"Work, Health and Income Among the Elderly, G. Burtlss, ed. Washington: Brookings, 1987. pp. 29-67.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1737
Note: ME PE
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  1. 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 372-91, April.
  2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "The Adequacy of Savings," NBER Working Papers 0627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Dissaving After Retirement: Testing the Pure Life Cycle Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1984. "Life Cycle Annuity Valuation," NBER Working Papers 1511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ernst R. Berndt & Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall & Jerry A. Hausman, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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