What Makes Annuitization More Appealing?
NBER Working Paper No. 18575
Issued in November 2012
NBER Program(s): AG
We conduct and analyze two large surveys of hypothetical annuitization choices. We find that allowing individuals to annuitize a fraction of their wealth increases annuitization relative to a situation where annuitization is an "all or nothing" decision. Very few respondents choose declining real payout streams over flat or increasing real payout streams of equivalent expected present value. Highlighting the effects of inflation increases demand for cost of living adjustments. Frames that highlight flexibility, control, and investment significantly reduce annuitization. A majority of respondents prefer to receive an extra "bonus" payment during one month of the year that is funded by slightly lower payments in the remaining months. Concerns about later-life income, spending flexibility, and counterparty risk are the most important self-reported motives that influence the annuitization decision.
A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2013 number 1 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.
Supplementary materials for this paper:
This paper was revised on June 5, 2013
Acknowledgments and Disclosures
Machine-readable bibliographic record -
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18575
- What Makes Annuitization More Appealing?, John Beshears, James Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, Stephen P. Zeldes. in Retirement Benefits for State and Local Employees: Designing Pension Plans for the Twenty-First Century, Clark, Rauh, and Duggan. 2014
- Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C. & Zeldes, Stephen P., 2014. "What makes annuitization more appealing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 2-16. citation courtesy of
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