July 15, 2013

CAAR – National Bureau of Economic Research Working Papers – July 15, 2013

Filed under: Working Papers — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:19 pm

A. “Optimal Life Cycle Portfolio Choice with Variable Annuities Offering Liquidity and Investment Downside Protection,” by Vanya Horneff, Raimond Maurer, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Ralph Rogalla (w19206, July 2013, .pdf format, 39p.).


We evaluate lifecycle consumption and portfolio allocation patterns resulting from access to Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) variable annuities, one of the most rapidly-growing financial innovations over the last two decades. A key feature of these products is that they offer access to equity investments with downside protection, hedging of longevity risk, and partially-refundable premiums. Welfare rises since policyholders exercise the product’s flexibility by taking withdrawals and dynamically adjusting their portfolios and consumption streams. Consistent with observed behavior, differences across individuals’ cash out and annuitization patterns result from variations in realized equity market returns and labor income trajectories.

B. “Optimal Annuitization with Stochastic Mortality Probabilities,” by Felix Reichling and Kent Smetters (w19211, July 2013, .pdf format, 39p.).


The conventional wisdom dating back to Yaari (1965) is that households without a bequest motive should fully annuitize their investments. Numerous market frictions do not break this sharp result. We modify the Yaari framework by allowing a household’s mortality risk itself to be stochastic. Annuities still help to hedge longevity risk, but they are now subject to valuation risk. Valuation risk is a powerful gateway mechanism for numerous frictions to reduce annuity demand, even without ad hoc ‘liquidity constraints.’ We find that most households should not annuitize any wealth. The optimal level of aggregate net annuity holdings is likely even negative.

C. “Did Age Discrimination Protections Help Older Workers Weather the Great Recession?” by David Neumark and Patrick Button (w19216, July 2013, .pdf format, 22p.).


We examine whether stronger age discrimination laws at the state level moderated the impact of the Great Recession on older workers. We use a difference-in-difference-in-differences strategy to compare older workers in states with stronger and weaker laws, to their prime-age counterparts, both before, during, and after the Great Recession. We find very little evidence that stronger age discrimination protections helped older workers weather the Great Recession, relative to younger workers. The evidence sometimes points in the opposite direction, with stronger state age discrimination protections associated with more adverse effects of the Great Recession on older workers. We suggest that this may be because stronger age discrimination laws protect older workers in normal times, but during an experience like the Great Recession severe labor market disruptions make it difficult to discern discrimination, weakening the effects of stronger state age discrimination protections.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress