A tragedy of annuitization? Longevity insurance in general equilibrium

We construct a tractable discrete-time overlapping generations model of a closed economy and use it to study government redistribution of accidental bequests and private annuities in general equilibrium. Individuals face longevity risk as there is a positive probabilityof passing away before the retirement period. We find non-pathological cases where it is better for long-run welfare to waste accidental bequests than to give them to the elderly. Next we study the introduction of a perfectly competitive life insurance market offering actuarially fair annuities. There exists a tragedy of annuitization: although full annuitization of assets is privately optimal it is not socially beneficial due to adverse general equilibrium repercussions.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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