Annuities and individual welfare

Thomas Davidoff, Jeffrey R. Brown, Peter A. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Advancing annuity demand theory, we present sufficient conditions for the optimality of full annuitization under market completeness which are substantially less restrictive than those used by Menahem E. Yaari (1965). We examine demand with market incompleteness, finding that positive annuitization remains optimal widely, but complete annuitization does not. How uninsured medical expenses affect demand for illiquid annuities depends critically on the timing of the risk. A new set of calculations with optimal consumption trajectories very different from available annuity income streams still shows a preference for considerable annuitization, suggesting that limited annuity purchases are plausibly due to psychological or behavioral biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1590
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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