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Should You Take a Lump-Sum or Annuitize? Results from Swiss Pension Funds

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  • Monika Bütler
  • Federica Teppa

Abstract

We use a unique dataset on individual retirement decisions in Swiss pension funds to analyze the choice between an annuity and a lump sum at retirement. Our analysis suggests the existence of an "acquiescence bias", meaning that a majority of retirees chooses the standard option offered by the pensions fund or suggested by common practice. Small levels of accumulated pension capital are much more likely to be withdrawn as a lump sum, suggesting a potential moral hazard behavior or a magnitude effect. We hardly find evidence for adverse selection effects in the data. Single men, for example, whose money's worth of an annuity is considerably below the corresponding value of married men, are not more likely to choose the capital option.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika Bütler & Federica Teppa, 2005. "Should You Take a Lump-Sum or Annuitize? Results from Swiss Pension Funds," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-20, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2005:2005-20
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    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/179 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Butler, Monika & Ruesch, Martin, 2007. "Annuities in Switzerland," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4438, The World Bank.
    3. Heidler, Matthias & Raffelhüschen, Bernd & Leifels, Arne, 2006. "Heterogenous life expectancy, adverse selection, and retirement behaviour," FZG Discussion Papers 13, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    4. Heijdra, Ben J. & Ligthart, Jenny E., 2010. "The Transitional Dynamics Of Fiscal Policy In Small Open Economies," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 1-28, February.
    5. Hurwitz, Abigail & Sade, Orly & Winter, Eyal, 2020. "Unintended consequences of minimum annuity laws: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 208-222.
    6. Shavit, Tal & Lahav, Eyal & Benzion, Uri, 2013. "Factors affecting soldiers’ time preference: A field study in Israel," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 75-84.

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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
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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