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Efficient Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection

  • Alberto Bisin
  • Piero Gottardi

Do Walrasian markets function orderly in the presence of adverse selection? In particular, is their outcome efficient when exclusive contracts are enforceable? This paper addresses these questions in the context of a Rothschild-Stiglitz insurance economy. We identify an externality associated with the presence of adverse selection as a special form of consumption externality. Consequently, we show that competitive equilibria always exist but are not typically incentive efficient. However, as markets for pollution rights can internalize environmental externalities, markets for consumption rights can be designed to internalize the consumption externality due to adverse selection. With such markets competitive equilibria exist and incentive-constrained versions of the first and second welfare theorems hold.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 114 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 485-516

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:114:y:2006:i:3:p:485-516
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  1. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 1997. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1578, David K. Levine.
  2. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine & Edward Prescott, 2000. "Lotteries, Sunspots and Incentive Constraints," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1974, David K. Levine.
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  5. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  6. John G. Riley, 1976. "Informational Equilibrium," UCLA Economics Working Papers 071, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Hellwig,Martin, 1986. "Some recent developments in the theory of competition in markets with adverse selection," Discussion Paper Serie A 82, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. John Ledyard & Kristin Szakaly-Moore, 1993. "Designing Organizations for Trading Pollution Rights," Experimental 9307001, EconWPA, revised 28 Jul 1993.
  9. Alberto Bennardo & Pierre-Andre Chiappori, 2003. "Bertrand and Walras Equilibria under Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 785-817, August.
  10. Belen Jerez, 2000. "General Equilibrium with Asymmetric Information: A Dual Approach," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1497, Econometric Society.
  11. V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones, 1991. "A reconsideration of the problem of social cost: free riders and monopolists," Staff Report 142, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "Equilibria and Pareto Optima of Markets with Adverse Selection," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 207-35, February.
  13. Gale, Douglas, 1992. "A Walrasian Theory of Markets with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 229-55, April.
  14. Bisin, Alberto & Gottardi, Piero, 1999. "Competitive Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-48, July.
  15. Cole, Harold Linh, 1989. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information: Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(1), pages 249-52, February.
  16. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 2005. "Efficient Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection," CESifo Working Paper Series 1504, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 1988. "Default and Efficiency in a General Equilibrium Model with Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 879R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 1989.
  18. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
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