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The Annuitization of Americans' Resources: A Cohort Analysis

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Listed:
  • Alan J. Auerbach
  • Jagadeesh Gokhale
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • John Sabelhaus
  • David N. Weil

Abstract

This paper constructs a unique cohort data set to study the changes since 1960 in the share of Americans' resources that are annuitized. Understanding these changes is important because the larger this share, the more cohorts are likely to consume and the less they are likely to bequeath. Hence, the degree of annuitization affects national saving as well as the transmission of inequality over time. Our findings are striking. Although the annuitized share of resources of younger Americans declined slightly between 1960 and 1990, it increased dramatically for older Americans. It doubled for older men and quadrupled for older women. Since the elderly have much higher mortality probabilities than do the young, their degree of annuitization is much more important for aggregate bequests and saving. According to our estimates, aggregate U.S. bequests would now be 66 percent larger had the post-1960 increase in annuitization not occurred. In addition, U.S. national saving would likely be substantially larger than is currently the case.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus & David N. Weil, 1995. "The Annuitization of Americans' Resources: A Cohort Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5089
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 55-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 315-407.
    3. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-577, June.
    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. Louise Sheiner & David N. Weil, 1992. "The Housing Wealth of the Aged," NBER Working Papers 4115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    7. Auerbach, A.J. & Kotlikoff, L.J. & Weil, D.N., 1992. "The Increasing Annuitization of the Elderly - Estimates and Implications for Intergenerational Transfers, Inequality and National Saving," Papers 6, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    8. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1984. "The Impact of Annuity Insurance on Savings and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 1403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-791, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1998. "Simulating the Privatization of Social Security in General Equilibrium," NBER Chapters,in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 265-311 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1996. "Privatization of Social Security: How It Works and Why It Matters," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 10, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kam Ki Tang & Jie Zhang, 2007. "Morbidity, Mortality, Health Expenditures and Annuitization," CESifo Working Paper Series 2086, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2002. "The Impact of Social Security and Other Factors on the Distribution of Wealth," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 85-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Laps, Jochen, 2016. "Fully Funded Social Security Pensions, Lifetime Risk and Income," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145587, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2002. "Generational policy," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 27, pages 1873-1932 Elsevier.
    7. Gokhale, Jagadeesh & Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Sefton, James & Weale, Martin, 2001. "Simulating the transmission of wealth inequality via bequests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 93-128, January.
    8. Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "A társadalombiztosítás privatizálása hogyan működik és miért fontos?
      [Privatization of social security how it works and why it matters?]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1045-1071.
    9. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1995. "Understanding the postwar decline in United States saving: a cohort analysis," Working Paper 9518, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    10. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 315-407.
    11. David E. Altig & Jagadeesh Gokhale, 1997. "Social Security privatization: a simple proposal," Working Paper 9703, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    12. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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