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Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown

Abstract

This paper examines the extent of redistribution that would occur under various annuity and bequest options as part of an individual accounts retirement program. I first estimate mortality differentials by gender, race, ethnicity and level of education using the National Longitudinal Mortality Study and document substantial differences. I then use these estimates to examine the expected transfers' that would take place between socioeconomic groups under different assumptions about the structure of an annuity program. Using an expected present discounted value or money's worth' calculation as the basis for comparison, I find that the size of transfers in an individual accounts program is highly sensitive to the benefit structure. For example, mandating a single-life, real annuity can result in expected transfers of as high as 20% of the account balance, often from economically disadvantaged groups toward groups that are better off. These transfers can be substantially reduced through the use of joint life annuities, survivor provisions and bequest options. For example, the largest expected negative transfer under a joint and full survivor annuity with a fully valued 20-year guarantee option is only 2% of the account balance. However, efforts to reduce the extent of redistribution generally do so at the cost of significantly lower annuity benefits paid to the individuals who contribute to the system.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey R. Brown, 2000. "Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities," NBER Working Papers 7560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7560
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    11. Thomas Davidoff & Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Annuities and Individual Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1573-1590, December.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Las consecuencias económicas de la muerte
      by Josep Pijoan-Mas in Nada Es Gratis on 2010-10-12 21:53:19

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Julia Lynn Coronado & Don Fullerton, 2009. "Is Social Security Part of the Social Safety Net?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 23, pages 37-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 11-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2006. "Social Security Privatization with Income-Mortality Correlation," Working Papers wp140, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 2001. "Accumulated Pension Collars: A Market Approach to Reducing the Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 15, pages 149-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2003. "Redistribution and Insurance: Mandatory Annuitization With Mortality Heterogeneity," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(1), pages 17-41.
    6. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:133-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Adriaan Kalwij, 2014. "An empirical analysis of the importance of controlling for unobserved heterogeneity when estimating the income-mortality gradient," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(30), pages 913-940, October.
    8. Venti, Steven & Wise, David A., 2015. "The long reach of education: Early retirement," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 6(C), pages 133-148.
    9. Adriaan Kalwij & Rob Alessie & Marike Knoef, 2013. "The Association Between Individual Income and Remaining Life Expectancy at the Age of 65 in the Netherlands," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 181-206, February.
    10. Josep Pijoan-Mas & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2014. "Heterogeneity in Expected Longevities," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2075-2102, December.
    11. Mazzaferro, Carlo & Morciano, Marcello & Savegnago, Marco, 2012. "Differential mortality and redistribution in the Italian notional defined contribution system," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(04), pages 500-530, October.
    12. James E Duggan & Robert Gillingham & John S Greenlees, 2008. "Mortality and Lifetime Income: Evidence from U.S. Social Security Records," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(4), pages 566-594, December.
    13. Christine Eibner & William N. Evans, 2005. "Relative Deprivation, Poor Health Habits, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    14. Sven H. Sinclair & Kent A. Smetters, 2004. "Health Shocks and the Demand for Annuities: Technical Paper 2004-09," Working Papers 15868, Congressional Budget Office.
    15. Julia Lynn Coronado & Don Fullerton & Thomas Glass, 2002. "Long-Run Effects of Social Security Reform Proposals on Lifetime Progressivity," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 149-206 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Coronado Julia Lynn & Fullerton Don & Glass Thomas, 2011. "The Progressivity of Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, November.
    17. James, Estelle & Vittas, Dimitri, 2000. "Annuity markets in comparative perspective : do consumers get their money's wotrth?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2493, The World Bank.
    18. Wei Sun & Anthony Webb, 2009. "How Much Do Households Really Lose By Claiming Social Security at Age 62?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-11, Center for Retirement Research, revised Apr 2009.
    19. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2000. "How Should We Insure Longevity Risk In Pensions And Social Security?," Issues in Brief ib-4, Center for Retirement Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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