Lopes, Paula and Michaelides, Alexander (2007) Rare events and annuity market participation. Finance Research Letters, 4 (2). pp. 82-91. ISSN 1544-6123
We investigate whether a rare event (like the default of the annuity provider) can explain the annuity market participation puzzle. High risk aversion is needed to change behavior in the presence of such a disastrous shock but higher risk aversion also makes annuities more valuable. Therefore, these rare events are unlikely candidates to explain the low take-up of voluntary annuities: the conclusion is robust to disentangling risk aversion from intertemporal substitution and to allowing portfolio investment in a stock market index.
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