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A Theory of Rational Demand for Index Insurance

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  • Daniel J. Clarke

Abstract

Rational demand for index insurance products is shown to be fundamentally different to that for indemnity insurance products due to the presence of basis risk. In particular, optimal demand is zero for infinitely risk-averse individuals, and is nonmonotonic in risk aversion, wealth, and price. For a given belief, upper bounds are derived for the optimal demand from risk-averse and decreasing absolute risk-averse decision makers. A simple ratio for monitoring basis risk is presented and applied to explain the low level of demand for consumer hedging instruments as a rational response to deadweight costs and basis risk. (JEL D14, D81, G13, G22, Q14)

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Clarke, 2016. "A Theory of Rational Demand for Index Insurance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 283-306, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:283-306
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20140103
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance

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