IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The fog of fraud – Mitigating fraud by strategic ambiguity

Listed author(s):
  • Lang, Matthias
  • Wambach, Achim

Most insurance companies publish few data on the occurrence and detection of insurance fraud. This stands in contrast to the previous literature on costly state verification, which has shown that it is optimal to commit to an auditing strategy. The credible announcement of thoroughly auditing claim reports is a powerful deterrent. Yet, we show that uncertainty about fraud detection can be an effective strategy to deter ambiguity-averse agents from reporting false insurance claims. If, in addition, the auditing costs of the insurers are heterogeneous, it can be optimal not to commit, because committing to a fraud-detection strategy eliminates the ambiguity about auditing. Thus, strategic ambiguity can be an equilibrium outcome in the market. Even competition does not force firms to provide the relevant information. This finding is also relevant in other auditing settings, like tax enforcement.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899825613000821
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 81 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 255-275

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:81:y:2013:i:c:p:255-275
DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2013.05.009
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Riedel, Frank & Sass, Linda, 2016. "The strategic use of ambiguity," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 452, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
  2. Lo, Kin Chung, 1996. "Equilibrium in Beliefs under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 443-484, November.
  3. Bade, Sophie, 2011. "Ambiguous act equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 246-260, March.
  4. Roland Strausz, 1997. "Delegation of Monitoring in a Principal-Agent Relationship," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 337-357.
  5. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  6. Bade, Sophie, 2011. "Electoral competition with uncertainty averse parties," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 12-29, May.
  7. Segal, Uzi, 1987. "The Ellsberg Paradox and Risk Aversion: An Anticipated Utility Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 175-202, February.
  8. Bose, Subir & Ozdenoren, Emre & Pape, Andreas, 2006. "Optimal auctions with ambiguity," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(4), pages 411-438, December.
  9. Kim C. Border & Joel Sobel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 525-540.
  10. Lo, Kin Chung, 2009. "Correlated Nash equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 722-743, March.
  11. Cerreia-Vioglio, Simone, 2016. "Objective rationality and uncertainty averse preferences," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(2), May.
  12. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162.
  13. Arthur Snow & Ronald S. Warren, 2005. "Ambiguity about Audit Probability, Tax Compliance, and Taxpayer Welfare," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(4), pages 865-871, October.
  14. Cerreia-Vioglio, S. & Maccheroni, F. & Marinacci, M. & Montrucchio, L., 2011. "Uncertainty averse preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1275-1330, July.
  15. Bodoh-Creed, Aaron L., 2012. "Ambiguous beliefs and mechanism design," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 518-537.
  16. Gajdos, T. & Hayashi, T. & Tallon, J.-M. & Vergnaud, J.-C., 2008. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 27-65, May.
  17. Georges Dionne & Florence Giuliano & Pierre Picard, 2009. "Optimal Auditing with Scoring: Theory and Application to Insurance Fraud," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 58-70, January.
  18. Johannes Rincke & Christian Traxler, 2011. "Enforcement Spillovers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1224-1234, November.
  19. Lo, Kin Chung, 1999. "Extensive Form Games with Uncertainty Averse Players," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 256-270, August.
  20. Leeat Yariv & David Laibson, 2004. "Safety in Markets: An Impossibility Theorem for Dutch Books," 2004 Meeting Papers 867, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. David P. Baron & David Besanko, 1984. "Regulation, Asymmetric Information, and Auditing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 447-470, Winter.
  22. Marinacci, Massimo, 2000. "Ambiguous Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 191-219, May.
  23. Christian Gollier, 2011. "Portfolio Choices and Asset Prices: The Comparative Statics of Ambiguity Aversion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1329-1344.
  24. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 902-932, September.
  25. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
  26. Dow James & Werlang Sergio Ribeiro Da Costa, 1994. "Nash Equilibrium under Knightian Uncertainty: Breaking Down Backward Induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 305-324, December.
  27. Robert F. Nau, 2006. "Uncertainty Aversion with Second-Order Utilities and Probabilities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(1), pages 136-145, January.
  28. Chew, Soo Hong & Sagi, Jacob S., 2008. "Small worlds: Modeling attitudes toward sources of uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 1-24, March.
  29. Jost, Peter-Jurgen, 1996. "On the Role of Commitment in a Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 510-530, February.
  30. Jennifer F. Reinganum & Louis L. Wilde, 1988. "A Note on Enforcement Uncertainty and Taxpayer Compliance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 793-798.
  31. Caron, L. & Dionne, G., 1996. "Insurance Fraud Estimation: More Evidence from the Quebec Automobile Insurance Industry," Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Montreal- 96-02, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Montreal-Chaire de gestion des risques..
  32. Kunreuther, Howard & Meszaros, Jacqueline & Hogarth, Robin M. & Spranca, Mark, 1995. "Ambiguity and underwriter decision processes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 337-352, May.
  33. Kin Chung Lo, 1998. "Sealed bid auctions with uncertainty averse bidders," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 12(1), pages 1-20.
  34. Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2011. "Dynamic choice under ambiguity," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), September.
  35. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  36. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2003. "An overview of economic applications of David Schmeidler`s models of decision making under uncertainty," Economics Series Working Papers 165, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  37. Levin, Dan & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2004. "Auctions with uncertain numbers of bidders," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 229-251, October.
  38. Mukerji, Sujoy, 1998. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Contractual Form," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1207-1231, December.
  39. Kyoungwon Seo, 2009. "Ambiguity and Second-Order Belief," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1575-1605, 09.
  40. Itzhak Gilboa & Massimo Marinacci, 2011. "Ambiguity and the Bayesian Paradigm," Working Papers 379, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  41. Ergin, Haluk & Gul, Faruk, 2009. "A theory of subjective compound lotteries," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 899-929, May.
  42. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
  43. Rees, Ray & Wambach, Achim, 2008. "The Microeconomics of Insurance," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 4(1–2), pages 1-163, February.
  44. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee, 1989. "Delegation as Commitment: The Case of Income Tax Audits," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 139-163, Summer.
  45. Mark B. Cronshaw & James Alm, 1995. "Tax Compliance With Two-Sided Uncertainty," Public Finance Review, , vol. 23(2), pages 139-140, April.
  46. Hanany Eran & Klibanoff Peter, 2009. "Updating Ambiguity Averse Preferences," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-53, November.
  47. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
  48. John C. Harsanyi, 1967. "Games with Incomplete Information Played by "Bayesian" Players, I-III Part I. The Basic Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3), pages 159-182, November.
  49. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2008. "Strategic Ambiguity and Arms Proliferation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1023-1057, December.
  50. Picard, Pierre, 1996. "Auditing claims in the insurance market with fraud: The credibility issue," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 27-56, December.
  51. Eichberger, Jurgen & Kelsey, David, 2000. "Non-Additive Beliefs and Strategic Equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 183-215, February.
  52. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1971. "Increasing risk II: Its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 66-84, March.
  53. Laure Cabantous, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion in the Field of Insurance: Insurers’ Attitude to Imprecise and Conflicting Probability Estimates," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 219-240, May.
  54. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  55. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:81:y:2013:i:c:p:255-275. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.