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Heterogeneity, Demand for Insurance and Adverse Selection

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  • Johannes Spinnewijn

Abstract

Recent empirical work finds that surprisingly little variation in the demand for insurance is explained by heterogeneity in risks. I distinguish between heterogeneity in risk preferences and risk perceptions underlying the unexplained variation. Heterogeneous risk perceptions induce a systematic difference between the revealed and actual value of insurance as a function of the insurance price. Using a sufficient statistics approach that accounts for this alternative source of heterogeneity, I find that the welfare conclusions regarding adversely selected markets are substantially different. The source of heterogeneity is also essential for the evaluation of different interventions intended to correct inefficiencies due to adverse selection like insurance subsidies and mandates, risk-adjusted pricing and information policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Spinnewijn, 2012. "Heterogeneity, Demand for Insurance and Adverse Selection," CEP Discussion Papers dp1142, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1142
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Roeder, Kerstin, 2013. "Long-term care policy, myopia and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 33-43.
    2. Benjamin R. Handel & Jonathan T. Kolstad, 2013. "Health Insurance for "Humans": Information Frictions, Plan Choice, and Consumer Welfare," NBER Working Papers 19373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Heterogeneity; adverse selection; risk perceptions; welfare and policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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