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Framing Lifetime Income

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Jeffrey R. Kling
  • Sendhil Mullainathan
  • Marian V. Wrobel

Abstract

We provide evidence that individuals optimize imperfectly when making annuity decisions, and this result is not driven by loss aversion. Life annuities are more attractive when presented in a consumption frame than in an investment frame. Highlighting the purchase price in the consumption frame does not alter this result. The level of habitual spending has little interaction with preferences for annuities in the consumption frame. In an investment frame, consumers prefer annuities with principal guarantees; this result is similar for guarantee amounts below, at, and above the purchase price. We discuss implications for the retirement services industry and its regulators.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2013. "Framing Lifetime Income," NBER Working Papers 19063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19063
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 304-309, May.
    2. Aura, Saku, 2005. "Does the balance of power within a family matter? The case of the Retirement Equity Act," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1699-1717, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    5. Monika Bütler & Federica Teppa, 2007. "The Choice between an Annuity and a Lump Sum: Results from Swiss Pension Funds," NBER Chapters,in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 1944-1966 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dushi, Irena & Webb, Anthony, 2004. "Household annuitization decisions: simulations and empirical analyses," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 109-143, July.
    7. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    8. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-154.
    9. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Milevsky, Moshe A. & Young, Virginia R., 2007. "Annuitization and asset allocation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 3138-3177, September.
    11. Julie R. Agnew & Lisa R. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Gerlach & Lisa R. Szykman, 2008. "Who Chooses Annuities? An Experimental Investigation of the Role of Gender, Framing, and Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 418-422, May.
    12. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 251-278, October.
    13. 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.
    14. Felix Reichling & Kent Smetters, 2013. "Optimal Annuitization with Stochastic Mortality Probabilities," NBER Working Papers 19211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    1. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_865 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2014. "Income as the Outcome: How to Broaden the Narrow Framing of U.S. Retirement Policy," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 17(1), pages 7-16, March.
    3. In Do Hwang, 2017. "Behavioral Aspects of Household Portfolio Choice: Effects of Loss Aversion on Life Insurance Uptake and Savings," Working Papers 2017-8, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    4. Jeffrey R. Brown & James Poterba & David Richardson, 2014. "Do Required Minimum Distributions Matter? The Effect of the 2009 Holiday On Retirement Plan Distributions," NBER Working Papers 20464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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