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Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks

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  • Lee M. Lockwood

Abstract

Despite facing significant uncertainty about their lifespans and health care costs, most retirees do not buy annuities or long-term care insurance. In this paper, I find that retirees' saving and insurance choices are highly inconsistent with standard life cycle models in which people care only about their own consumption but match well models in which bequests are luxury goods. Bequest motives tend to reduce the value of insurance by reducing the opportunity cost of precautionary saving. The results suggest that bequest motives significantly increase saving and significantly decrease purchases of long-term care insurance and annuities.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee M. Lockwood, 2014. "Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks," NBER Working Papers 20745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20745
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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