WorldCat Identities

Brown, Jeffrey R.

Works: 19 works in 117 publications in 1 language and 309 library holdings
Roles: Author
Classifications: HB1, 330
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by Jeffrey R Brown
Does the internet make markets more competitive? : evidence from the life insurance industry by Jeffrey R Brown( Book )
12 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 69 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
The Internet has the potential to significantly reduce search costs by allowing consumers to engage in low-cost price comparisons online. This paper provides empirical evidence on the impact that the rise of Internet comparison shopping sites has had for the prices of life insurance in the 1990s. Using micro data on individual life insurance policies, the results indicate that, controlling for individual and policy characteristics, a 10 percent increase in the share of individuals in a group using the Internet reduces average insurance prices for the group by as much as 5 percent. Further evidence indicates that prices did not fall with rising Internet usage for insurance types that were not covered by the comparison websites, nor did they in the period before the insurance sites came online. The results suggest that growth of the Internet has reduced term life prices by 8 to 15 percent and increased consumer surplus by $115-215 million per year and perhaps more. The results also show that the initial introduction of the Internet search sites is initially associated with an increase in price dispersion within demographic groups, but as the share of people using the technology rises further, dispersion falls
The interaction of public and private insurance : Medicaid and the long-term care insurance market by Jeffrey R Brown( )
7 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 33 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
"We show that the provision of even incomplete public insurance can substantially crowd out private insurance demand. We examine the interaction of the public Medicaid program with the private market for long-term care insurance and estimate that Medicaid can explain the lack of private insurance purchases for at least two-thirds and as much as 90 percent of the wealth distribution, even if comprehensive, actuarially fair private policies were available. Medicaid's large crowd out effect stems from the very large implicit tax (on the order of 60 to 75 percent for a median wealth individual) that Medicaid imposes on the benefits paid from private insurance policies. Importantly, Medicaid itself provides an inadequate mechanism for smoothing consumption for most individuals, so that its crowd out effect has important implications for overall risk exposure. An implication of our findings is that public policies designed to stimulate private insurance demand will be of limited efficacy as long as Medicaid continues to impose this large implicit tax"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site
Executive financial incentives and payout policy : firm responses to the 2003 dividend tax cut by Jeffrey R Brown( )
7 editions published between 2004 and 2006 in English and held by 33 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
Using the 2003 reduction in dividend tax rates to identify an exogenous change in the after-tax value of dividends to shareholders, we test whether the composition of executives' stock and option holdings is an important determinant of payout policy. We find that when top executives have greater stock ownership, and thus have the incentive to increase dividends for liquidity reasons, there is a significantly greater likelihood of a dividend increase following the 2003 dividend tax cut, whereas no such relation existed in the prior decade when the dividend tax rate was much higher. In contrast, executives with large holdings of stock options, whose value is negatively related to the amount of dividends paid, were less likely to increase dividends both before and after the tax change. These findings hold for dividend increases in general, as well as dividend initiations, and are robust to a rich set of firm and shareholder characteristics. Our results suggest that about one-half of the unanticipated rise in the likelihood of a dividend increase or initiation observed in 2003 can be attributed to the stock vs. option composition of top executive holdings. Many of the firms that increased dividends in 2003 scaled back share repurchases, leaving total payouts little changed. This substitution may have raised the total tax burden on distributions because share repurchases are still tax-advantaged relative to dividends. We find that while dividend-paying firms with a large fraction of individual shareholders saw the biggest stock price gains in response to the tax cut, the market appears to have at least partially anticipated for which firms the tax cut would most likely lead to a substitution of dividends for share repurchases or earnings retention and thus a higher average tax burden on total distributions for individual shareholders
Guaranteed trouble the economic effects of the pension benefit guaranty corporation by Jeffrey R Brown( )
5 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 30 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper examines the economic rationale for, historical experience of, and current pressures facing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The PBGC is the government entity which partially insures participants in private-sector defined benefit pension plans against the loss of pension benefits in the event that the plan sponsor experiences financial distress and has an under-funded pension plan. The paper discusses three major flaws of the PBGC, namely, that the PBGC has: 1) failed to properly price insurance and thus encouraged excessive risk-taking by plan sponsors; 2) failed to promote adequate funding of pension obligations; and 3) failed to promote sufficient information disclosure to market participants. The paper then discusses potential ways to reform the PBGC so that it operates more in concert with basic economic principles
An Empirical Analysis of the Economic Impact of Federal Terrorism Reinsurance by Jeffrey R Brown( )
7 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 21 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper examines the role of the federal government in the market for terrorism reinsurance. We investigate the stock price response of affected industries to a sequence of thirteen events culminating in the enactment of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) of 2002. In the industries most likely to be affected by TRIA banking, construction, insurance, real estate investment trusts, transportation, and public utilities the stock price effect was primarily negative. The Act was at best value-neutral for property-casualty insurers because it eliminated the option not to offer terrorism insurance. The negative response of the other industries may be attributable to the Act's impeding more efficient private market solutions, failing to address nuclear, chemical, and biological hazards, and reducing market expectations of federal assistance following future terrorist attacks
401(k) matching contributions in company stock : costs and benefits for firms and workers by Jeffrey R Brown( Book )
11 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 20 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper examines why some employers provide matching contributions to 401(k) plans in company stock and explores the implications of match policy for employee retirement wealth. Unlike stock option grants to non-executives, a firm's decision to match in company stock does not appear to be strongly correlated with cash flow or with measures of the benefits of aligning incentives of employees and employers. Rather, we find evidence that firms are more likely to provide the match in company stock if firm risk is low (i.e. lower stock price volatility and lower bankruptcy risk) and employees are also covered by a defined benefit plan. These findings suggest that firms consider the retirement security of their workers in making the match decision, either because firms want to minimize the risk of violating their fiduciary responsibility or because employees more fully value company stock at companies with lower firm-specific risk. Evidence also indicates that firms may want to match in company stock to boost employee ownership, perhaps to help deter takeovers, or because of the tax advantages for dividends on the company stock match. Simulation results suggest that sufficiently risk-tolerant individuals actually prefer a 401(k) plan at a company with a company stock match to a plan at a company with an unrestricted match, unless the equity premium is reduced substantially
The geography of stock market participation : the influence of communities and local firms by Jeffrey R Brown( )
8 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 14 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper is the first to investigate the importance of geography in explaining equity market participation. We provide evidence to support two distinct local area effects. The first is a community ownership effect, that is, individuals are influenced by the investment behavior of members of their community. Specifically, a ten percentage-point increase in equity market participation of the members of one's community makes it two percentage points more likely that the individual will invest in stocks. We find further evidence that the influence of community members is strongest for less financially sophisticated households and strongest within peer groups' as defined by age and income categories. The second is that proximity to publicly-traded firms also increases equity market participation. In particular, the presence of publicly-traded firms within 50 miles and the share of U.S. market value headquartered within the community are significantly correlated with equity ownership of individuals. These results are quite robust, holding up in the presence of a wide range of individual and community controls, instrumental variables estimation, the inclusion of individual fixed effects, and specification checks to rule out that the relations are driven solely by ownership of the stock of one's employer
Taxing retirement income : nonqualified annuities and distributions from qualified accounts ( Book )
7 editions published in 1999 in English and Undetermined and held by 13 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper explores the current tax treatment of non-qualified immediate annuities and distributions from tax-qualified retirement plans in the United States. First, we describe how immediate annuities held outside retirement accounts are taxed. We conclude that the current income tax treatment of annuities does not substantially alter the incentive to purchase an annuity rather than a taxable bond. We nevertheless find differences across different individuals in the effective tax burden on annuity contracts. Second, we examine an alternative method of taxing annuities that would avoid changing the fraction of the annuity payment that is included in taxable income as the annuitant ages, but would still raise the same expected present discounted value of revenues as the current income tax rule. We find that a shift to a constant inclusion ratio increases the utility of annuitants, and that this increase is greater for more risk averse individuals. Third, we examine how payouts from qualified accounts are taxed, focusing on both annuity payouts and minimum distribution requirements that constrain the feasible time path of nonannuitized payouts. We describe briefly the origins and workings of the minimum distribution rules and we also provide evidence on the fraction of retirement assets potentially affected by these rules
Private pensions, mortality risk, and the decision to annuitize by Jeffrey R Brown( )
6 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 12 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper examines household decisions about whether or not to annuitize retirement resources. A life-cycle model of consumption, implemented with the use of dynamic programming techniques, is used to construct a utility-based measure of annuity value for individuals and couples in the Health and Retirement Survey. Variation in the calculated annuity equivalent wealth' arises from differences in mortality risk, marital status, risk aversion, and the presence of pre-existing annuities such as Social Security. I find that a one-percentage point increase in the annuity equivalent wealth leads to nearly a one-percentage point increase in the ex ante probability of annuitizing balances in defined contribution pension plans. However, because much of the variation in the expected annuity decision is left unexplained by the life-cycle model, other factors are also analyzed. Health status and an individual's time horizon for financial decision making are significant determinants of the decision. There is no evidence that bequest motives are an important factor in making marginal annuity decisions
Alternative methods of price indexing social security : implications for benefits and system financing by Andrew G Biggs( )
6 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 8 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper explains four methods of "price indexing" initial Social Security retirement benefits, and discusses the effect of each method on the fiscal sustainability of Social Security, benefit levels and replacement rates, redistribution, and sensitivity of system finances to demographic and economic shocks. Of these methods, PIA Factor Indexing would generate the largest cost savings while reducing benefit growth at approximately an equal rate for all income levels. Methods that index the AIME, the formula "bend points," or both, would reduce benefit growth at a slower rate and would have different effects on benefit distribution and system sustainability
The effect of inheritance receipt on retirement by Jeffrey R Brown( )
6 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 8 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper uses the receipt of an inheritance to measure the effect of wealth shocks on retirement. Using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we first document that inheritance receipt is common among older workers - one in five households receives an inheritance over an eight-year period, with a median value of about $30,000. We find that inheritance receipt is associated with a significant increase in the probability of retirement. In particular, we find that receiving an inheritance increases the probability of retiring earlier than expected by 4.4 percentage points, or 12 percent relative to the baseline retirement rate, over an eight-year period. Importantly, this effect is stronger when the inheritance is unexpected and thus more likely to represent an exogenous shock to wealth
Rational and behavioral perspectives on the role of annuities in retirement planning by Jeffrey R Brown( )
5 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 8 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper discusses the role of annuities in retirement planning. It begins by explaining the basic theory underlying the individual welfare gains available from annuitizing resources in retirement. It then contrasts these findings with the empirical findings that so few consumers behave in a manner that is consistent with them placing a high value on annuities. After reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the large literature that seeks to reconcile these findings through richer extensions of the basic model, this paper turns to a somewhat more speculative discussion of potential behavioral stories that may be limiting demand. Overall, the paper argues that while further extensions to the rational consumer model of annuity demand are useful for helping to clarify under what conditions annuitization is welfare-enhancing, at least part of the answer to why consumers are so reluctant to annuitize will likely be found through a more rigorous study of the various psychological biases that individuals bring to the annuity decision
Supply or demand : why is the market for long-term care insurance so small? by Jeffrey R Brown( )
6 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 7 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
Long-term care represents one of the largest uninsured financial risks facing the elderly in the United States. Whether the small size of this market is driven primarily by supply side market imperfections or by limitations to demand, however, is unresolved, largely due to the paucity of data about the structure of the private market. We provide what is to our knowledge the first empirical evidence on the pricing and benefit structure of long-term care insurance policies. We estimate that the typical policy purchased by a 65-year old has an average pricing load of about 18 percent and has a very limited benefit structure, covering only one-third of the expected present discounted value of long-term care expenditures. These findings are consistent with the presence of supply side market imperfections. However, we also find enormous gender differences in pricing -- typical loads are 44 cents on the dollar for men but better than actuarially fair for women -- that do not translate into differences in coverage. And, although purchased policies provide limited benefits, we demonstrate that more comprehensive policies are widely-available at similar loads, but are rarely purchased. These findings suggest that while supply-side market imperfections exist, they are not the primary cause of the small size of the private long-term care insurance market
Who chooses defined contribution plans? by Jeffrey R Brown( )
5 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 7 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper provides new evidence on what types of individuals are most likely to choose a defined contribution (DC) plan over a defined benefit (DB) plan. Making use of administrative data from the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) of Illinois, we study the decisions of nearly 50,000 new employees who make a one-time, irrevocable choice between a traditional DB plan, a portable DB plan, and an entirely self-managed DC plan. Because the SURS-covered earnings of these employees are not covered under the Social Security system, their choices provides insight into the DB vs. DC preferences of individuals with regard to a primary source of their retirement income. We find that a majority of participants fail to make an active decision and are thus defaulted into the traditional DB plan after 6 months. We also find that those individuals who are most likely to be financially sophisticated are most likely to choose the self-managed DC plan, despite the fact that, given plan parameters, the DC plan is inferior to the portable DB plan under reasonable assumptions about future financial market returns. We discuss both rational and behavioral reasons that might explain this finding
Individual account investment options and portfolio choice behavioral lessons from 401(k) plans by Jeffrey R Brown( )
5 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 7 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper examines how the menu of investment options made available to workers in defined contribution plans influences portfolio choice. Using unique panel data of 401(k) plans in the U.S., we present three principle findings. First, we show that the share of investment options in a particular asset class (i.e., company stock, equities, fixed income, and balanced funds) has a significant effect on aggregate participant portfolio allocations across these asset classes. Second, we document that the vast majority of the new funds added to 401(k) plans are high-cost actively managed equity funds, as opposed to lower-cost equity index funds. Third, because the average share of assets invested in low-cost equity index funds declines with an increase in the number of options, average portfolio expenses increase and average portfolio performance is thus depressed. All of these findings are obtained from a panel data set, enabling us to control for heterogeneity in the investment preferences of workers across firms and across time
Neighbors matter causal community effects and stock market participation ( )
5 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 7 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper establishes a causal relation between an individual's decision of whether to own stocks and average stock market participation decision of the individual's community. We instrument for the average ownership of an individual's community with lagged average ownership of the states in which one's non-native neighbors were born. Combining this instrumental variables approach with controls for individual and community fixed effects, a broad set of time-varying individual and community controls, and state-by-year effects, rules out alternative explanations. To further establish that word-of-mouth communication drives this causal effect, we show that the results are stronger in more sociable communities
Medicaid crowd-out of private long-term care insurance demand evidence from the health and retirement survey by Jeffrey R Brown( )
4 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 6 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
This paper provides empirical evidence of Medicaid crowd out of demand for private long-term care insurance. Using data on the near- and young-elderly in the Health and Retirement Survey, our central estimate suggests that a $10,000 decrease in the level of assets an individual can keep while qualifying for Medicaid would increase private long-term care insurance coverage by 1.1 percentage points. These estimates imply that if every state in the country moved from their current Medicaid asset eligibility requirements to the most stringent Medicaid eligibility requirements allowed by federal law - a change that would decrease average household assets protected by Medicaid by about $25,000 - demand for private long-term care insurance would rise by 2.7 percentage points. While this represents a 30 percent increase in insurance coverage relative to the baseline ownership rate of 9.1 percent, it also indicates that the vast majority of households would still find it unattractive to purchase private insurance. We discuss reasons why, even with extremely stringent eligibility requirements, Medicaid may still exert a large crowd-out effect on demand for private insurance
The economics of state and local public pensions by Jeffrey R Brown( )
4 editions published in 2011 in English and held by 4 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of an economics-based perspective on the financial aspects of state and local public pensions in the U.S. Drawing on the research commissioned for an NBER research program on this topic, we discuss the large degree to which public pension liabilities exceed the assets set aside to fund them. We summarize issues related to the optimality of pre-funding, portfolio allocation, the discounting of liabilities, as well as how plans operate in practice. We also lay out an agenda for future research related to financial aspects of public pensions, retiree health plans for public employees, as well as issues related to plan design and labor market outcomes
Household ownership of variable annuities by Jeffrey R Brown( )
1 edition published in 2006 in English and held by 2 WorldCat member libraries worldwide
Abstract: Variable annuities have been one of the most rapidly growing financial products of the last two decades. Between 1996 and 2004, nominal sales of variable annuities in the U.S. more than doubled, from $51 billion to $130 billion. Variable annuities now account for approximately nearly two thirds of annuity sales. The investment returns associated with variable annuities resemble those from mutual funds, and variable annuity buyers can select among a range of asset allocation options. Variable annuities are considered insurance products under the tax law, so buyers are not taxed on their investment returns until they make withdrawals from their variable annuity accounts. This paper describes the tax treatment of variable annuities, presents summary information on their ownership patterns, and explores the importance of several distinct motives for household purchase of variable annuities. The discussion of tax treatment examines the impact of the 2001 and 2003 tax bills on the relative tax treatment of variable annuities and other financial products. Household data from the 1998 and 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances shows that variable annuity ownership is highly concentrated among high income and high net wealth sub-groups of the population. Variable annuity ownership is less concentrated, however, than ownership of several other types of financial assets. Evidence on the role of tax incentives in encouraging ownership of variable annuities is mixed. The probability of owning a variable annuity rises with the marginal tax rate throughout most of the income distribution, but it is lower for households in the top tax bracket than for those with slightly lower tax rates
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