How price-elastic is the demand for retirement saving?
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We exploit an administrative data set of a big insurance company to assess the effects on annuity demand of a French regulatory reform which impacted actuarial return to deferred life annuity products. Unlike in previous studies, annuity demand is measured by contributions to savings products that result in capital being converted into annuities at retirement. Our identification methodology is based on the fact that while female savers’ annuity rate (conversion rate of capital into annuities) fell by 10%, male savers who did not expect to take the survivor option at retirement were not affected by the reform. Assuming that single men fall into this category, and using this population as a control group, we find a decrease in demand by women of − 16%, which corresponds to a price elasticity of subscriptions of − 1.5. The reform did not significantly alter contributions to saving accounts. We also document a very large anticipation effect created by the opportunity offered to early subscribers to benefit from older pricing.
KeywordsRetirement savings Mortality Insurance
We are grateful to the insurance company who kindly provided us with the data, and to its staff for their valuable assistance and advice. Ekedi Mpongo-Dika and Claire Lebarz provided excellent research assistance. We also thank Michael Visser, Carine Milcent and seminar participants at the Paris School of Economics, the AFSE Annual Conference, the European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists Conference, and the World Congress of the Econometric Society for their useful comments. The views presented in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions to which they belong.
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