The Government, the Market, and the Problem of Catastrophic Loss
This article addresses the comparative advantage of the government to the private property/casualty insurance industry for the provision of insurance coverage for catastrophic losses. That the government can play an important role as an insurer of societal losses has been a central public policy principle since at least the New Deal. In addition, our government typically automatically provides forms of specific relief following unusually severe or unexpected disasters, which itself can be viewed as a form of ex post insurance. This article argues that for systemic reasons, the government is much less effective than the private property/casualty market in providing coverage of losses generally, but especially of losses in contexts of catastrophes. Copyright 1996 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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