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The life insurance market: Asymmetric information revisited

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  • He, Daifeng

Abstract

This paper finds evidence for the presence of asymmetric information in the life insurance market, a conclusion contrasting with the existing literature. In particular, we find a significant and positive correlation between the decision to purchase life insurance and subsequent mortality, conditional on risk classification. Individuals who died within a 12-year time window after a base year were 19% more likely to have taken up life insurance in that base year than were those who survived the time window. Moreover, as might be expected when individuals have residual private information, we find that the earlier an individual died, the more likely she was to have initially bought insurance. The primary factor driving the difference between our and the prior literature's findings is that we focus on a sample of potential new buyers, rather than on the entire cross section, to address the sample selection problem induced by potential mortality differences between those with and those without coverage.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 9-10 (October)
Pages: 1090-1097

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:9-10:p:1090-1097

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Asymmetric information Private information Life insurance Sample selection Differential mortality New buyers Health status Pricing factors Risk classification;

References

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  1. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2003. "The Role Of Commitment In Dynamic Contracts: Evidence From Life Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 299-327, February.
  2. Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 12289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 2001. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 249-62, Summer.
  4. David M. Cutler & Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2008. "Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 157-62, May.
  5. Cutler, David & McGarry, Kathleen & Finkelstein, Amy, 2008. "Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance," Scholarly Articles 2640581, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
  7. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2006. "Asymmetric information in insurance: general testable implications," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 783-798, December.
  8. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2000. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," NBER Working Papers 8045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Li Gan & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden, 2005. "Individual Subjective Survival Curves," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 377-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alma Cohen, 2005. "Asymmetric Information and Learning: Evidence from the Automobile Insurance Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 197-207, May.
  11. Hausman, J. A. & Abrevaya, Jason & Scott-Morton, F. M., 1998. "Misclassification of the dependent variable in a discrete-response setting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 239-269, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wuppermann, Amelie Catherine, 2011. "Empirical Essays in Health and Education Economics," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13187, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Deryugina, Tatyana, 2012. "Does Selection in Insurance Markets Always Favor Buyers?," MPRA Paper 53583, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Edward Kung & Hanming Fang, 2011. "Why Do Life Insurance Policyholders Lapse? The Roles of Income, Health and Bequest Motive Shocks," 2011 Meeting Papers 188, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Ciprian Matis & Eugenia Matis, 2013. "Asymmetric Information In Insurance Field: Some General Considerations," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 1(15), pages 17.
  5. He, Daifeng, 2011. "Is there dynamic adverse selection in the life insurance market?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 113-115, July.
  6. Nathaniel Hendren, 2012. "Private Information and Insurance Rejections," NBER Working Papers 18282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Xi Wu & Li Gan, 2013. "Multiple Dimensions of Private Information in Life Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 19629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tomas J. Philipson & George Zanjani, 2013. "Economic Analysis of Risk and Uncertainty induced by Health Shocks: A Review and Extension," NBER Working Papers 19005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Li Gan & Feng Huang & Adalbert Mayer, 2011. "A Simple Test of Private Information in the Insurance Markets with Heterogeneous Insurance Demand," NBER Working Papers 16738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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