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Collective Risks in Local Administrations: Can a Private Insurer Be Better than a Public Mutual Fund?

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  • Luigi Buzzacchi

    ()
    (Department of Production Systems and Business Economics, Polytechnic University of Torino)

  • Gilberto Turati

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino)

Abstract

In this paper we consider the institutional arrangements needed in a decentralised framework to cope with the potential adverse welfare effects caused by localized negative shocks (e.g., natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or even clinical errors) that can be limited by precautionary investments. We model the role of a public mutual fund to cover these “collective risks”. We start from the under-investment problem stemming from the moral hazard of Local administrations when the fund is managed by the Central government, which also takes into account the equalisation of resources across administrations. We then study the potential role of private insurers in solving the under-investment problem. Our analysis shows that the public fund is always superior to the private insurance solution in the presence of hard budget constraints. However, when the Central government cannot credibly commit to an optimal transfer rule, private insurers are sometimes able to improve on the public mutual fund solution by inducing a higher level of investments.

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File URL: http://web.econ.unito.it/prato/papers/n3.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Former Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino in its series Working papers with number 3.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tur:wpaper:3

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Keywords: intergovernmental relations; private insurer; collective risks;

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  1. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 1999. "Should More Risk-Averse Agents Exert More Effort?," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 24(1), pages 19-28, June.
  2. Lena Nekby, 2004. "Pure Versus Mutual Health Insurance: Evidence From Swedish Historical Data," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 71(1), pages 115-134.
  3. Arrow, Kenneth J & Lind, Robert C, 1970. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 364-78, June.
  4. Timothy J. Goodspeed & Andrew F. Haughwout, 2009. "On the optimal design of disaster insurance in a federation," Working Papers 2009/25, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  5. Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin & Erwann Michel-Kerjan, 2001. "The Public-Private Sector Risk-Sharing in the French Insurance "Cat. Nat. System"," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-60, CIRANO.
  6. Frank A. Sloan & Lindsey M. Chepke, 2008. "Medical Malpractice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262195720, December.
  7. Krupa S. Viswanathan & J. David Cummins, 2003. "Ownership Structure Changes in the Insurance Industry: An Analysis of Demutualization," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(3), pages 401-437.
  8. Pierre Picard, 2008. "Natural Disaster Insurance and the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 75(1), pages 17-38.
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