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Annuity Pricing in Public Pension Plans: Importance of Interest Rates

Author

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  • Nino Abashidze
  • Robert L. Clark
  • Beth Ritter
  • David Vanderweide

Abstract

There is little systematic information on the distribution options in public sector retirement plans and how annuity options are priced relative to the standard single life annuity. This study examines the distribution options of 85 large public retirement plans covering general state employees, teachers, and local government employees. An important component of the analysis is the construction of a data set presenting the annuity options offered by each of these plans and how the monthly benefits for these distribution options are priced. The analysis shows that interest rates used to price annuities vary considerably across the plans. As a result, retirees with the same monthly benefit if a single life benefit is chosen will have substantially different monthly benefits if they select the joint and survivor annuity offered by their retirement plan.

Suggested Citation

  • Nino Abashidze & Robert L. Clark & Beth Ritter & David Vanderweide, 2018. "Annuity Pricing in Public Pension Plans: Importance of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 25343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25343
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brown, Jeffrey R., 2001. "Private pensions, mortality risk, and the decision to annuitize," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 29-62, October.
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    3. Shlomo Benartzi & Alessandro Previtero & Richard H. Thaler, 2011. "Annuitization Puzzles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 143-164, Fall.
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    5. 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.
    6. Clark, Robert L. & Hammond, Robert G. & Vanderweide, David, 2019. "Navigating complex financial decisions at retirement: evidence from annuity choices in public sector pensions," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 594-611, October.
    7. Clark, Robert L. & Morrill, Melinda Sandler & Vanderweide, David, 2014. "Defined benefit pension plan distribution decisions by public sector employees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 73-88.
    8. Robert L. Clark & Aditi Pathak & Denis Pelletier, 2018. "Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans in the Public Sector: Participation and Contribution Decisions by School Personnel," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 383-404, December.
    9. Robert L. Clark & Robert G. Hammond & Melinda S. Morrill & David Vanderweide, 2017. "Annuity Options in Public Pension Plans: The Curious Case of Social Security Leveling," NBER Working Papers 23262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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