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Organizational form and efficiency: an analysis of stock and mutual property-liability insurers

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Author Info

  • J. David Cummins
  • Mary A. Weiss
  • Hongmin Zi

Abstract

This paper analyzes the efficiency of stock and mutual organizational forms in the property-liability insurance industry using nonparametric frontier efficiency methods. We test the managerial discretion hypothesis, which predicts that the market will sort organizational forms into market segments where they have comparative advantages in minimizing the costs of production, including agency costs. Both production and cost frontiers are estimated. The results indicate that stocks and mutuals are operating on separate production and cost frontiers and thus represent distinct technologies. The stock technology dominates the mutual technology for producing stock output vectors, and the mutual technology dominates the stock technology for producing mutual output vectors. However, the stock cost frontier dominates the mutual cost frontier for the majority of both stock and mutual firms. The finding of separate frontiers and organization-specific technological advantages is consistent with the managerial discretion hypothesis, but we also find evidence that stocks are more successful than mutuals in minimizing costs, suggesting the existence of agency problems in the mutual organizational form.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 98-19.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:98-19

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Keywords: Insurance industry;

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References

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  1. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1991. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 117-148, August.
  2. F. Fecher & D. Kessler & S. Perelman & P. Pestieau, 1993. "Productive performance of the French insurance industry," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 77-93, June.
  3. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  4. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
  5. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1992. "Measurement and Efficiency Issues in Commercial Banking," NBER Chapters, in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 245-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Berger, Allen N & Cummins, J David & Weiss, Mary A, 1997. "The Coexistence of Multiple Distribution Systems for Financial Services: The Case of Property-Liability Insurance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(4), pages 515-46, October.
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  10. Fare, Rolf & Shawna Grosskopf & Mary Norris & Zhongyang Zhang, 1994. "Productivity Growth, Technical Progress, and Efficiency Change in Industrialized Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 66-83, March.
  11. Mester, Loretta J., 1991. "Agency costs among savings and loans," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 257-278, June.
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  13. Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford Jr., 1986. "Ownership structure and control : The mutualization of stock life insurance companies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 73-98, May.
  14. Cummins, J. David & Weiss, Mary A., 1993. "Measuring cost efficiency in the property-liability insurance industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 463-481, April.
  15. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-49, June.
  16. Lee, Soon-Jae & Mayers, David & Smith Jr., Clifford W., 1997. "Guaranty funds and risk-taking Evidence from the insurance industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 3-24, April.
  17. Elyasiani, Elyas & Mehdian, Seyed, 1992. "Productive efficiency performance of minority and nonminority-owned banks: A nonparametric approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 933-948, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. J. David Cummins & Maria Rubio-Misas, 2001. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence From the Spanish Insurance Industry," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-01, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Robert W. Klein & Paul R. Kleindorfer, 1999. "The Supply of Catastrophe Insurance Under Regulatory Constraints," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 99-25, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1998. "Analyzing Firm Performance in the Insurance Industry Using Frontier Efficiency Methods," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-22, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Gonzalo Rodríguez‐Pérez & John Slof & Magda Solà & Margarita Torrent & Immaculada Vilardell, 2011. "Assessing the Impact of Fair‐Value Accounting on Financial Statement Analysis: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 47(1), pages 61-84, 03.
  5. Bernhard Mahlberg & Thomas Url, . "The Transition to the Single Market in the German Insurance Industry," WIFO Working Papers 131, WIFO.
  6. J. Cummins & Georges Dionne & Robert Gagné & A. Nouira, 2009. "Efficiency of insurance firms with endogenous risk management and financial intermediation activities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 145-159, October.
  7. Hao, James C.J. & Chou, Lin-Yhi, 2005. "The estimation of efficiency for life insurance industry: The case in Taiwan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 847-860, October.
  8. Sufian, Fadzlan, 2011. "Banks total factor productivity change in a developing economy: Does ownership and origins matter?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 84-98, February.
  9. Rubio-Misas, María, 2009. "Productividad y eficiencia de las Mutualidades de Previsión Social/Productivity and Efficiency of Social Benefit Institutions," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 27, pages 571 (30 Pá, Agosto.
  10. J.Cook & S.Deakin & A.Hughes, 2001. "Mutuality and Corporate Governance: The Evolution of UK Building Societies Following Deregulation," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp205, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  11. J. Cummins & Gregory Nini, 2002. "Optimal Capital Utilization by Financial Firms: Evidence from the Property-Liability Insurance Industry," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 15-53, February.
  12. J.A. Bikker & J. Gorter, 2008. "Performance of the Dutch non-life insurance industry: competition, efficiency and focus," Working Papers 08-01, Utrecht School of Economics.
  13. repec:ise:isegwp:wp182007 is not listed on IDEAS

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