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Natural Disaster Insurance and the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off

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  • Pierre Picard

Abstract

This article investigates the role of private insurance in the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters. We characterize the equity-efficiency trade-off faced by the policymakers under imperfect information about individual prevention costs. It is shown that a competitive insurance market with actuarial rate making and compensatory tax-subsidy transfers is likely to dominate regulated uniform insurance pricing rules or state-funded assistance schemes. The model illustrates how targeted tax cuts on insurance contracts can improve the incentives to prevention while compensating individuals with high prevention costs. The article highlights the complementarity between individual incentives through tax cuts and collective incentives through grants to the local jurisdictions where risk management plans are enforced. Copyright The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2008.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:75:y:2008:i:1:p:17-38
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laure Latruffe & Pierre Picard, 2005. "Assurance des catastrophes naturelles : faut-il choisir entre prévention et solidarité ?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 78, pages 33-56.
    2. Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Altruism, the Samaritan's Dilemma, and Government Transfer Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 46-57, March.
    3. Browne, Mark J & Hoyt, Robert E, 2000. "The Demand for Flood Insurance: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 291-306, May.
    4. Finkelstein, Amy & Poterba, James & Rothschild, Casey, 2009. "Redistribution by insurance market regulation: Analyzing a ban on gender-based retirement annuities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 38-58, January.
    5. Kunreuther, Howard, 1996. "Mitigating Disaster Losses through Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 12(2-3), pages 171-187, May.
    6. Lewis, Tracy & Nickerson, David, 1989. "Self-insurance against natural disasters," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 209-223, May.
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