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Bargaining Power and Efficiency in Insurance Contracts

Author

Listed:
  • John Quiggin

    () (School of Economics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.)

  • Robert G Chambers

    () (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.)

Abstract

Insurance contracts are frequently modelled as principal–agent relationships. The purpose of this paper is to examine the interaction between differential bargaining power and the efficiency of insurance contracts. The analysis is undertaken in a framework of state-contingent production, which allows us to consider, as separate choices, the level of effort committed by the client and the riskiness of the equilibrium state-contingent production vector. Our central result is that, in the presence of hold-up problems, the exercise of monopoly power by insurers leads clients to undertake socially costly self-protection, leading to suboptimal levels of insurance. Clients can exploit information asymmetries to offset the bargaining power of the insurer, but this process is also socially costly. Hence, competitive markets for insurance will yield a Pareto-superior outcome to the constrained Pareto-optimum reached in markets where insurers have monopoly power. More generally, in a bargaining situation, an increase in the bargaining power of clients will increase social welfare. The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review (2009) 34, 47–73. doi:10.1057/grir.2008.15

Suggested Citation

  • John Quiggin & Robert G Chambers, 2009. "Bargaining Power and Efficiency in Insurance Contracts," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 34(1), pages 47-73, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:genrir:v:34:y:2009:i:1:p:47-73
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Quiggin, John, 2002. "Risk and Self-Protection: A State-Contingent View," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 133-145, September.
    2. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    3. Quiggin, John & Chambers, Robert G., 1998. "A state-contingent production approach to principal-agent problems with an application to point-source pollution control," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 441-472, December.
    4. Lewis, Tracy & Nickerson, David, 1989. "Self-insurance against natural disasters," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 209-223, May.
    5. David M. G. Newbery, 1977. "Risk Sharing, Sharecropping and Uncertain Labour Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 585-594.
    6. Ehrlich, Isaac & Becker, Gary S, 1972. "Market Insurance, Self-Insurance, and Self-Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(4), pages 623-648, July-Aug..
    7. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    8. Viaene, Stijn & Veugelers, Reinhilde & Dedene, Guido, 2002. "Insurance bargaining under risk aversion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 245-259, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boonen, Tim J., 2016. "Nash equilibria of Over-The-Counter bargaining for insurance risk redistributions: The role of a regulator," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 250(3), pages 955-965.
    2. Boonen, Tim J. & De Waegenaere, Anja & Norde, Henk, 2017. "Redistribution of longevity risk: The effect of heterogeneous mortality beliefs," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 175-188.
    3. Huang, Rachel J. & Huang, Yi-Chieh & Tzeng, Larry Y., 2013. "Insurance bargaining under ambiguity," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 812-820.
    4. repec:eee:ejores:v:266:y:2018:i:3:p:1175-1188 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. J François Outreville, 2010. "The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review 2009: In Quest of Behavioural Insurance," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 35(3), pages 484-497, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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