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Redistribution and Insurance: Mandatory Annuitization with Mortality Heterogeneity

  • Jeffrey R. Brown

This paper examines the distributional implications of mandatory longevity insurance when there is mortality heterogeneity in the population. Previous research has demonstrated the significant financial redistribution that occurs under alternative annuity programs in the presence of differential mortality across groups. This paper embeds that analysis into a life cycle framework that allows for an examination of distributional effects on a utility-adjusted basis. It finds that the degree of redistribution that occurs from the introduction of a mandatory annuity program is substantially lower on a utility-adjusted basis than when evaluated on a purely financial basis. In a simple life-cycle model with no bequests, complete annuitization is welfare enhancing even for those individuals with much higher-than-average expected mortality rates, so long as administrative costs are sufficiently low. These findings have implications for policy toward annuitization, particularly as part of a reformed Social Security system.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9256.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Publication status: published as Brown, Jeffrey R. "Redistribution And Insurance: Mandatory Annuitization With Mortality Heterogeneity," Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2003, v70(1,Mar), 17-41.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9256
Note: AG PE
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  1. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  2. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Mortality, Education, Income, and Inequality among American Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 7140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
  5. William G. Gale & Joel B. Slemrod, 2001. "Rethinking the Estate and Gift Tax: Overview," NBER Working Papers 8205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey Liebman, 2000. "The Distributional Effects of an Investment-Based Social Security System," NBER Working Papers 7492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Julia Lynn Coronado & Don Fullerton & Thomas Glass, 2000. "The Progressivity of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 7520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2000. "How Effective is Redistribution Under the Social Security Benefit Formula?," NBER Working Papers 7597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary W. Hoynes, 1995. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 5126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," NBER Working Papers 8625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, . "The Role of Real Annuities and Indexed Bonds In An Individual Accounts Retirement Program," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  14. Samuel Preston & Irma Elo & Ira Rosenwaike & Mark Hill, 1996. "African-american mortality at older ages: Results of a matching study," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 193-209, May.
  15. Friedman, Benjamin M & Warshawsky, Mark J, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-54, February.
  16. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, August.
  17. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jeffrey R. Brown, 1999. "Private Pensions, Mortality Risk, and the Decision to Annuitize," NBER Working Papers 7191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Jeffrey Brown, 2002. "Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 401-446 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 1999. "The Economics of Bequests in Pensions and Social Security," NBER Working Papers 7065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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