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Public Self-Insurance and the Samaritan’s Dilemma in a Federation

Listed author(s):
  • Tim Lohse

    (Berlin School of Economics and Law, Social Science Research Center, Berlin, Germany)

  • Julio R. Robledo

    ()

    (Faculty of Business and Economics, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany)

Motivated by recent disasters, this article analyzes the risk-sharing aspect in a federation. The regions can be hit by a shock leading to losses that occur with an exogenous probability and in a stochastically independent way. The regions can spend effort on self-insurance to reduce the size of the loss. Being part of a federation has two countervailing welfare effects. On one hand, there is the well-known welfare increase due to risk pooling. On the other hand, the self-insurance effort is a public good, because all regions benefit from the reduction of the loss. There exists a Samaritan’s dilemma kind of effect whereby regions reduce their self-insurance effort potentially leading to an overall welfare decrease. The central government can solve this dilemma by committing to fixed rather than to variable transfers. This induces regions that behave noncooperatively to choose the efficient level of self-insurance effort.

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File URL: http://pfr.sagepub.com/content/41/1/92.abstract
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Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 41 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 92-120

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:41:y:2013:i:1:p:92-120
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  1. Lohse, Tim & Julio R. Robledo & Ulrich Schmidt, 2006. "Self-Insurance and Self-Protection as Public Goods," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-354, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  2. Alexander Muermann & Howard Kunreuther, 2008. "Self-protection and insurance with interdependencies," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 103-123, April.
  3. Garance Genicot & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Group Formation in Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 87-113.
  4. Arman Mansoorian, 1999. "Risk Sharing in a Federation with Population Mobility and Long Horizons," Working Papers 1999_03, York University, Department of Economics.
  5. Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "Inter-Regional Insurance," Discussion Papers 9703, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  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. Jan K. Brueckner, 1999. "Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom: Theory and Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 505-525, January.
  8. Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Altruism, the Samaritan's Dilemma, and Government Transfer Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 46-57, March.
  9. Timothy Goodspeed & Andrew Haughwout, 2012. "On the optimal design of disaster insurance in a federation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 1-27, March.
  10. Konrad, Kai A, 1994. "The Strategic Advantage of Being Poor: Private and Public Provision of Public Goods," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(241), pages 79-92, February.
  11. Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, "undated". "Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 93, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  12. Mark Skidmore & Hideki Toya, 2013. "Natural Disaster Impacts and Fiscal Decentralization," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(1), pages 101-117.
  13. Kunreuther, Howard & Heal, Geoffrey, 2003. "Interdependent Security," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 26(2-3), pages 231-249, March-May.
  14. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing Without Commitment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2053, David K. Levine.
  15. Toshihiro Ihori & Martin McGuire, 2010. "National self-insurance and self-protection against adversity: bureaucratic management of security and moral hazard," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 103-122, April.
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