Facoltà di scienze economiche

Gender-based price discrimination in the annuity market : evidence from Chile

Bello, Piera

This paper studies gender-based price discrimination in the annuity market. The dataset consists of transaction-level data on the universe of individuals accessing the Chilean annuity market in the 2004-2017 period. It exploits the fact that, in Chile, individuals can access the annuity market through three different channels: an independent financial advisor, a sales agent at a company, or... More

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    Summary
    This paper studies gender-based price discrimination in the annuity market. The dataset consists of transaction-level data on the universe of individuals accessing the Chilean annuity market in the 2004-2017 period. It exploits the fact that, in Chile, individuals can access the annuity market through three different channels: an independent financial advisor, a sales agent at a company, or directly at a PFA (Pension Fund Administrator). The analysis shows that sales agents severely distort prices to the detriment of women customers. Women who consult sales agents pay higher transaction prices compared to the other two groups of women, while there is no variation in men’s prices across the three channels for market access. Additional evidence shows that this is not driven by differences in negotiation skills or type of annuity product purchased but rather by differences in initial prices. Firms charge higher initial prices to women who access the market through one of their sales agents. These results are consistent with an explanation that links the lack of competition between firms to discriminatory behaviour against female customers. Gender differences in financial literacy might explain why firms find it profitable to offer higher prices to women.