Recent research demonstrates that personal mortality salience from annuity contemplation generates an
avoidance response, reducing interest in purchasing annuities. However, theoretical models of mortality salience
also predict an increased desire for investment in the future circumstances of surviving others (“symbolic
immortality”), such as that provided by bequest provisions in an annuity contract. An experimental test confirms
that those exposed to higher levels of personal mortality reminders exhibit a greater preference for an annuity
paying lower income but with a bequest provision. Thus, the effects of mortality salience can drive annuity
decisions, not only at the extensive margin (avoidance of any purchase), but also at the intensive margin
(purchasing lower income by including a bequest provision).

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