2007

Take-Up of Medicare Part D and the SSA Subsidy: Early Results from the Health and Retirement Study

We analyze newly available data from the Health and Retirement Study on senior citizens’ takeup of Medicare Part D and the associated SSA Low-Income Subsidy. We find that economic factors – specifically, demand for prescription drugs – drove the decision…

The Welfare Cost of Asymmetric Information: Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market

Much of the extensive empirical literature on insurance markets has focused on whether adverse selection can be detected. Once detected, however, there has been little attempt to quantify its importance. We start by showing theoretically that the  efficiency cost of…

Health Insurance and the Labor Supply Decisions of Older Workers: Evidence from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The Future of American Fertility

The level of fertility in a population is the principal determinant of the shape of its age structure, which in turn is a critical factor in the terms of trade within a pay-as-you-go system of public pensions. Fertility has fallen…

Children and Household Wealth

This paper focuses on the effects that children have on life-cycle wealth accumulation. We start examining the effects of children using a simple permanent income model with no uncertainty and complete markets. But this framework does not come close to…

Life-cycle Asset Allocation with Annuity Markets: Is Longevity Insurance a Good Deal?

We derive the optimal portfolio choice over the life-cycle for households facing labor income, capital market, and mortality risk. In addition to stocks and bonds, households also have access to incomplete annuity markets offering a hedge against mortality risk. We…

Inflation Bets or Deflation Hedges? The Changing Risks of Nominal Bonds

The covariance between US Treasury bond returns and stock returns has moved considerably over time. While it was slightly positive on average in the period 1953— 2005, it was particularly high in the early 1980’s and negative in the early…

Participant Perceptions and Decision-Making Concerning Retirement Benefits

The Impact of Employer Matching on Savings Plan Participation under Automatic Enrollment

Existing research has documented the large impact that automatic enrollment has on savings plan participation. All the companies examined in these studies, however, have combined automatic enrollment with an employer match. This raises a question about how effective automatic enrollment…

Why Are Companies Freezing Their Pensions?

The shift in pension coverage from defined benefit plans to 401(k)s has been underway since 1981. This shift was the result of three developments: 1) the addition of 401(k) provisions to existing thrift and profit sharing plans; 2) a surge…