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Moral Hazard, Risk Seeking, and Free Riding


  • Berger, Lawrence A
  • Hershey, John C


This article reports on a laboratory study of moral hazard in insurance markets. The experimental literature or the provision of public goods suggests that agents often sacrifice their narrowly defined self-interest for the good of the group. However, in those experiments, losses are deterministic. We find cooperation in experiments with stochastic losses to be much lower than in otherwise identical experiments with deterministic losses. We argue that the combination of risk seeking and free riding under stochastic returns to investment in loss control makes moral hazard particularly problematic for insurance markets. Copyright 1994 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Lawrence A & Hershey, John C, 1994. "Moral Hazard, Risk Seeking, and Free Riding," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 173-186, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:9:y:1994:i:2:p:173-86

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    Cited by:

    1. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele & Spitzer, Florian & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Medical insurance and free choice of physician shape patient overtreatment: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 78-105.
    2. repec:kap:jrisku:v:56:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11166-018-9280-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Smith, Gregory & Day, Brett, 2018. "Addressing the Collective Action Problem in Multiple-purchaser PES: An Experimental Investigation of Negotiated Payment Contributions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 36-58.
    4. Björk, Lisa & Kocher, Martin & Martinsson, Peter & Nam Khanh, Pham, 2016. "Cooperation under risk and ambiguity," Working Papers in Economics 683, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. Zhang, Peilu & Palma, Marco A., 2018. "Compulsory versus Voluntary Insurance: An Online Experiment," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274047, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Landmann, Andreas & Pradhan, Shailee, 2018. "Can group incentives alleviate moral hazard? The role of pro-social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 230-249.
    7. Bixter, Michael T. & Luhmann, Christian C., 2014. "Shared losses reduce sensitivity to risk: A laboratory study of moral hazard," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 63-73.
    8. Nicholas E. Burger & Charles D. Kolstad, 2009. "Voluntary Public Goods Provision, Coalition Formation, and Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 15543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Johannes G. Jaspersen, 2016. "Hypothetical Surveys And Experimental Studies Of Insurance Demand: A Review," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(1), pages 217-255, January.

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