Does Propitious Selection Explain Why Riskier People Buy Less Insurance?
Empirical testing of asymmetric information in the insurance market has uncovered a negative correlation between risk levels and insurance purchases, rather than the positive correlation predicted by the standard insurance theory. Hemenway (1990) proposes an explanation for this negative correlation, called 'propitious selection''. He argues that potential insurance buyers have different tastes for risk and that 'individuals who are highly risk avoiding are more likely both to try to reduce the hazard and to purchase insurance' (p. 1064). Chiappori and Salanié (2000) also suggest that this line of argument, which they call 'cherry picking', may explain the observed negative correlation. In this paper, we show that the propitious selection argument does not imply negative correlation between risk levels and insurance purchases, be-cause it fails to take into account the supply side of the insurance market. To illustrate this claim, we provide a model where, although we assume that individuals differ in risk aversion and that the more risk averse individuals exert more precaution and buy more insurance, we end up with a positive correlation between risk and insurance purchases at equilibrium. The reason is that, in any separating equilibrium, the more risk averse individuals face insurance overprovision which, combined with moral hazard, increases their risk relative to the less risk averse individuals. To obtain the negative correlation between risk and insurance purchases, one further needs the extra condition of decreasing marginal willingness to pay for the less risk averse individuals. Finally, we find that propitious selection has profound policy implications for social insurance.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999.
"An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
- John Cawley & Tomas Philipson, 1997. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade inInsurance," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 132, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- John Cawley & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," NBER Working Papers 5669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruno Jullien & Bernard SalaniÃ© & FranÃ§ois SalaniÃ©, 1999.
"Should More Risk-Averse Agents Exert More Effort?,"
The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review,
Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 24(1), pages 19-28, June.
- Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 1998. "Should More Risk-Averse Agents Exert More Effort," Working Papers 98-12, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
- Jullien, B. & Salanie, B. & Salanie, F., 1998. "Should More Risk-Averse Agents Exert More Effort?," Papers 98.489, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
- Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2000.
"Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 56-78, February.
- Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 1997. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Working Papers 97-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
- L. Eeckhoudt & C. Gollier, 2005.
"The impact of prudence on optimal prevention,"
- Jullien, Bruno & Salanié, Bernard & Salanié, François, 2001.
"Screening Risk-Averse Agents Under Moral Hazard,"
IDEI Working Papers
131, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2000. "Screening Risk-Averse Agents Under Moral Hazard," Working Papers 2000-41, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
- Jullien, Bruno & Salanié, Bernard & Salanié, François, 2001. "Screening Risk Averse Agents Under Moral Hazard," CEPR Discussion Papers 3076, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2003. "Private Information and its Effect on Market Equilibrium: New Evidence from Long-Term Care Insurance," NBER Working Papers 9957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 2001.
"Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 249-62, Summer.
- Jean Hindriks & Philippe De Donder, 2001.
"The Politics of Redistributive Social Insurance,"
444, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
- HINDRIKS, Jean & DE DONDER, Philippe, 2001. "The politics of redistributive social insurance," CORE Discussion Papers 2001054, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- DE DONDER, Philippe & HINDRIKS, Jean, . "The politics of redistributive social insurance," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1674, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Hemenway, David, 1992. "Propitious Selection in Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 247-51, July.
- Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
- David Hemenway, 1990. "Propitious Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1063-1069.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5640. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.