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The life insurance market: Asymmetric information revisited

  • He, Daifeng

This paper finds evidence for the presence of asymmetric information in the life insurance market, a conclusion contrasting with the existing literature. In particular, we find a significant and positive correlation between the decision to purchase life insurance and subsequent mortality, conditional on risk classification. Individuals who died within a 12-year time window after a base year were 19% more likely to have taken up life insurance in that base year than were those who survived the time window. Moreover, as might be expected when individuals have residual private information, we find that the earlier an individual died, the more likely she was to have initially bought insurance. The primary factor driving the difference between our and the prior literature's findings is that we focus on a sample of potential new buyers, rather than on the entire cross section, to address the sample selection problem induced by potential mortality differences between those with and those without coverage.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(09)00085-1
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 9-10 (October)
Pages: 1090-1097

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:9-10:p:1090-1097
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
  2. Cardon, James H & Hendel, Igal, 2001. "Asymmetric Information in Health Insurance: Evidence from the National Medical Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 408-27, Autumn.
  3. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2002. "Asymmetric Information in Insurance : General Testable Implications," Working Papers 2002-42, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. David M. Cutler & Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2008. "Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 157-62, May.
  5. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2004. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 183-208, February.
  6. Li Gan & Michael Hurd & Daniel McFadden, 2003. "Individual Subjective Survival Curves," NBER Working Papers 9480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 12289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alma Cohen, 2005. "Asymmetric Information and Learning: Evidence from the Automobile Insurance Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 197-207, May.
  9. De Meza, D. & Webb, D.C., 2000. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Market," Discussion Papers 0007, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  10. Hausman, J. A. & Abrevaya, Jason & Scott-Morton, F. M., 1998. "Misclassification of the dependent variable in a discrete-response setting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 239-269, September.
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