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Risk, Insurance, and (the Social Construction of) Responsibility

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  • Tom Baker

    (University of Connecticut)

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    Abstract

    Insurance, we all know, transfers risk. Yet, what we usually think of as a transfer of risk is also a transfer of responsibility. The promise of insurance and other forms of risk management is gaining a measure of control over an uncertain world. Reaching out to insurance institutions for protection cedes responsibility to them. Thus, risk not only creates responsibility, but also, through the means explored in this chapter, socializes that responsibility. Indeed, if we understand the "embrace of risk" to include the embrace of insurance and other aspects of risk management, then we might wonder whether the embrace of risk is "really" about individual responsibility, and we might think more about social control.

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    File URL: http://lsr.nellco.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=uconn/ucwps
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    Paper provided by University of Connecticut School of Law in its series University of Connecticut School of Law Working Papers with number uconn_ucwps-1007.

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    Handle: RePEc:bep:conlaw:uconn_ucwps-1007

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    Web page: http://www.law.uconn.edu/

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    1. Butler, Richard J. & Hartwig, Robert P. & Gardner, Harold, 1997. "HMOs, moral hazard and cost shifting in workers' compensation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 191-206, April.
    2. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
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