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Heterogeneity, Demand for Insurance and Adverse Selection

  • Spinnewijn, Johannes
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    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.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8833.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8833
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    1. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Beyond Testing: Empirical Models of Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 15241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Adrian Bruhin & Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2007. "Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion," SOI - Working Papers 0705, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Jul 2007.
    3. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Explaining the Favorite-Longshot Bias: Is it Risk-Love or Misperceptions?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3029, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland Mueller & Dan Silverman, 2011. "Who Is (More) Rational?," Vienna Economics Papers 1105, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    5. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2006. "Asymmetric information in insurance: general testable implications," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 783-798, December.
    6. Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2006. "Multiple Dimensions of Private Information: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 938-958, September.
    7. Michael D. Hurd, 2009. "Subjective Probabilities in Household Surveys," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 543-564, 05.
    8. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Justin Sydnor, 2010. "(Over)insuring Modest Risks," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 177-99, October.
    10. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    11. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104.
    12. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1997. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," NBER Working Papers 6193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1985. "Expectations, Life Expectancy, and Economic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 389-408.
    14. Levon Barseghyan & Francesca Molinari & Ted O'Donoghue & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2013. "The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2499-2529, October.
    15. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Paul Schrimpf, 2010. "Optimal Mandates and the Welfare Cost of Asymmetric Information: Evidence From the U.K. Annuity Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1031-1092, 05.
    16. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:4:p:783-798 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Mark R. Cullen, 2010. "Estimating Welfare in Insurance Markets Using Variation in Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 877-921.
    18. Alma Cohen & Peter Siegelman, 2010. "Testing for Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 39-84.
    19. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Salanie, Bernard, 1997. "Empirical contract theory: The case of insurance data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 943-950, April.
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