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Behavioral Biases in Annuity Choice: An Experiment

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Abstract

We conduct a neutral-context laboratory experiment to systematically investigate the role of the hit-by-bus concern in explaining the annuitization puzzle: the low rate of retirement-asset annuitization relative to the predictions of standard models. We vary endowed asset (annuity vs. stock of wealth vs. no explicit endowment), and find a strong endowment effect. Furthermore, we find that the ordering of survival risks matters. Compared to a frame in which a single draw from a known distribution determines survival outcome, annuity choice is lower when subjects must sequentially survive early periods to reach periods in which the annuity dominates. We conclude with policy implications.

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  • Robert S. Gazzale & Lina Walker, 2009. "Behavioral Biases in Annuity Choice: An Experiment," Department of Economics Working Papers 2009-01, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2009-01
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    Cited by:

    1. Mitchell, O.S. & Piggott, J., 2016. "Workplace-Linked Pensions for an Aging Demographic," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 865-904, Elsevier.
    2. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Optimal Annuitization with Incomplete Annuity Markets and Background Risk During Retirement," Other publications TiSEM 0b8e2130-a64a-48c1-97d6-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Enrique Fatás & Juan Lacomba & Francisco Lagos & Ana Moro-Egido, 2013. "An experimental test on dynamic consumption and lump-sum pensions," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 393-413, November.
    4. Peijnenburg, Kim & Nijman, Theo & Werker, Bas J.M., 2016. "The annuity puzzle remains a puzzle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 18-35.
    5. Peijnenburg, J.M.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Werker, B.J.M., 2010. "Health Cost Risk and Optimal Retirement Provision : A Simple Rule for Annuity Demand," Discussion Paper 2010-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; behavioral; retirement; annuities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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