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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Goda, Gopi Shah, 2011. "The impact of state tax subsidies for private long-term care insurance on coverage and Medicaid expenditures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 744-757, August.
    2. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2007. "To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 207-235.
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    4. Nathaniel Hendren, 2013. "Private Information and Insurance Rejections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(5), pages 1713-1762, September.
    5. Sloan, Frank A & Norton, Edward C, 1997. "Adverse Selection, Bequests, Crowding Out, and Private Demand for Insurance: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 201-219, December.
    6. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    7. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-353, July.
    8. Ettner, Susan L, 1994. "The Effect of the Medicaid Home Care Benefit on Long-Term Care Choices of the Elderly," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 103-127, January.
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    11. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2011. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Public Care Aversion from Bequest Motives," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 519-561, April.
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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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