IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Competition and Insurance Twenty Years Later


  • Michael Rothschild

    (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544)

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

    (The World Bank and Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305)


We are honored to address the European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists and will take the opportunity to make some reflections on the rather uneasy relationship between insurance and competition.Economists generally prescribe competition as a solution for markets that do not work well. Competition allocates resources efficiently and encourages innovation and attention to what customers want. Insurance markets differ from most other markets because in insurance markets competition can destroy the market rather than make it work better.One of the dimensions along which insurance companies compete is underwriting—trying to ensure that the risks covered are “good” risks or that if a high risk is insured, the premium charged is at least commensurate with the potential cost. The resulting partitioning of risk limits the amount of insurance that potential insurance customers can buy. In the extreme case, such competitive behavior will destroy the insurance market altogether. A simple model illustrates. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory (1997) 22, 73–79. doi:10.1023/A:1008607915478

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Rothschild & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1997. "Competition and Insurance Twenty Years Later," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 22(2), pages 73-79, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:genrir:v:22:y:1997:i:2:p:73-79

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:genrir:v:22:y:1997:i:2:p:73-79. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.