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Efficiency of competition in insurance markets with adverse selection

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  • DE FEO, Giuseppe
  • HINDRIKS, Jean

Abstract

There is a general presumption that competition is a good thing. In this paper we show that competition in the insurance markets can be bad when there is adverse selection. Using the dual theory of choice under risk, we are able to fully characterize both the competitive and the monopoly market outcomes. When there are two types of risk, the monopoly dominates competition if and only if competition leads to market unravelling. When there are a continuum of types the efficiency of competition is less trivial. In effect monopoly is shown to provide better insurance but at the cost of driving out some agents from the market. Performing simulation for different distributions of risk, we find that monopoly in general performs (much) better than competition in terms of the realization of the gains from trade across all traders in equilibrium. The reason is that the monopolist can exploit its market power to relax the incentive constraints.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2005054.

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Date of creation: 00 Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2005054

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Keywords: monopoly; competition; non-expected utility; insurance; adverse selection;

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References

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  1. Spence, Michael, 1978. "Product differentiation and performance in insurance markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 427-447, December.
  2. Riley, John G, 1985. "Competition with Hidden Knowledge," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 958-76, October.
  3. Meglena Jeleva & Bertrand Villeneuve, 1997. "Insurance Contracts with Imprecise Probabilities and Adverse Selection," Working Papers 97-16, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. Hindriks, Jean & De Donder, Philippe, 2003. "The politics of redistributive social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2639-2660, December.
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  6. Arnold Chassagnon & Bertrand Villeneuve, 2005. "Optimal risk-sharing under adverse selection and imperfect risk perception," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 955-978, August.
  7. Harris Milton & Townsend, Robert M, 1981. "Resource Allocation under Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 33-64, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
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  13. Crocker, Keith J. & Snow, Arthur, 1985. "The efficiency of competitive equilibria in insurance markets with asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 207-219, March.
  14. Thomas A. Gresik & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1985. "The Rate at Which a Simple Market Becomes Efficient as the Number of Traders Increases: An Asymptotic Result for Optimal Trading Mechanisms," Discussion Papers 641, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Engers, Maxim & Fernandez, Luis F, 1987. "Market Equilibrium with Hidden Knowledge and Self-selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 425-39, March.
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  17. Rustichini, Aldo & Satterthwaite, Mark A & Williams, Steven R, 1994. "Convergence to Efficiency in a Simple Market with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1041-63, September.
  18. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopoly, Non-linear Pricing and Imperfect Information: The Insurance Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 407-30, October.
  19. Satterthwaite, Mark A & Williams, Steven R, 1989. "The Rate of Convergence to Efficiency in the Buyer's Bid Double Auction as the Market Becomes Large," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 477-98, October.
  20. Mark J. Machina, 1995. "Non-Expected Utility and The Robustness of the Classical Insurance Paradigm," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(1), pages 9-50, June.
  21. Jaffee, Dwight & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1990. "Credit rationing," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 837-888 Elsevier.
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  23. Doherty, Neil A & Eeckhoudt, Louis, 1995. "Optimal Insurance without Expected Utility: The Dual Theory and the Linearity of Insurance Contracts," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 157-79, March.
  24. Gul, Faruk & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Asymptotic Efficiency in Large Exchange Economies with Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1273-92, November.
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Cited by:
  1. De Feo, Giuseppe & Hindriks, Jean, 2009. "Harmful competition in the insurance markets," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-46, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  2. Philippe Donder & Jean Hindriks, 2009. "Adverse selection, moral hazard and propitious selection," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 73-86, February.

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