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Background Uncertainty and the Demand for Insurance Against Insurable Risks

  • Luigi Guiso

    ()

    (CEPR and Ente “Luigi Einaudi” per gli Studi Monetari, Bancari e Finanziari, Via Due Macelli, University of Sassari, 73-00187 Rome, Italy.)

  • Tullio Jappelli

    ()

    (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, University of Salerno, 84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy and CEPR.)

Theory suggests that people facing higher uninsurable background risk buy more insurance against other risks that are insurable. This proposition is supported by Italian cross-sectional data. It is shown that the probability of purchasing casualty insurance increases with earnings uncertainty. This finding is consistent with consumer preferences being characterized by decreasing absolute prudence. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory (1998) 23, 7–27. doi:10.1023/A:1008621712979

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Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory.

Volume (Year): 23 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 7-27

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Handle: RePEc:pal:genrir:v:23:y:1998:i:1:p:7-27
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  1. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  2. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schlesinger, Harris, 1996. "Changes in Background Risk and Risk-Taking Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 683-89, May.
  3. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," NBER Working Papers 4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Marti G. Subrahmanyam & Günter Franke & Richard C. Stapleton, 1998. "The Size of Background Risk and the Theory of Risk Bearing," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-066, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  5. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
  6. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  7. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
  8. Darrell Duffie & Thaleia Zariphopoulou, 1993. "Optimal Investment With Undiversifiable Income Risk," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 135-148.
  9. Douglas W. Elmendorf & Miles S. Kimball, 1996. "Taxation of labor income and the demand for risky assets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Lewis, Frank D, 1989. "Dependents and the Demand for Life Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 452-67, June.
  11. Kimball, Miles S, 1993. "Standard Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 589-611, May.
  12. Gruber, J. & Poterba, J., 1994. "Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," Working papers 94-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1994. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Anne Gron & Deborah Lucas, 1995. "External Financing and Insurance Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gollier, Christian & Pratt, John W, 1996. "Risk Vulnerability and the Tempering Effect of Background Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1109-23, September.
  16. Dionne, G. & Gollier, C., 1991. "Comparative Statics Under Multiple Sources of Risk with Appllications to Insurance Demand," Cahiers de recherche 9133, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  17. Doherty, Neil A & Schlesinger, Harris, 1983. "The Optimal Deductible for an Insurance Policy When Initial Wealth Is Random," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 555-65, October.
  18. Doherty, Neil A & Schlesinger, Harris, 1983. "Optimal Insurance in Incomplete Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(6), pages 1045-54, December.
  19. Miles S. Kimball, 1991. "Precautionary Motives for Holding Assets," NBER Working Papers 3586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1983. "The Interdependence of Individual Portfolio Decisions and the Demand for Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 304-11, April.
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