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Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market

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  • Amy Finkelstein
  • James Poterba

Abstract

We use a unique data set of annuities in the United Kingdom to test for adverse selection. We find systematic relationships between ex post mortality and annuity characteristics, such as the timing of payments and the possibility of payments to the annuitant's estate. These patterns are consistent with the presence of asymmetric information. However, we find no evidence of substantive mortality differences by annuity size. These results suggest that the absence of selection on one contract dimension does not preclude its presence on others. This highlights the importance of considering detailed features of insurance contracts when testing theoretical models of asymmetric information.

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2004. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 183-208, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:1:p:183-208
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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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