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An Exploration into Competition and Efficiency in the Dutch Life Insurance Industry

Author

Listed:
  • Jaap Bikker
  • Michiel van Leuvensteijn

Abstract

The lack of available prices in the Dutch life insurance industry makes competition an elusive concept that defies direct observation. Therefore, this paper investigates competition by analysing several factors which may affect the competitive nature of a market and various indirect measurement approaches. After discussing various supply and demand factors whic h may constitute a so-called tight oligopoly, we establish the existence of scale economies and the importance of cost Xinefficiency, since severe competition would force firms to exploit available scale economies and to reduce X-inefficiencies. Both scale economies and X-inefficiencies turn out to be substantial, although more or less comparable to those found for insurers in other countries and to other financial institutions. Further, we apply the Boone indicator, a novel approach to measuring the effects of competition. This indicator points to limited competition in comparison to other sectors in the Netherlands. Further investigations of submarkets should reveal where policy measures in order to promote competition might be appropriate.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaap Bikker & Michiel van Leuvensteijn, 2005. "An Exploration into Competition and Efficiency in the Dutch Life Insurance Industry," DNB Working Papers 047, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:047
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacob Bikker & Jan de Dreu, 2006. "Pension fund efficiency: the impact of scale, governance and plan design," DNB Working Papers 109, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    2. Michiel Bijlsma & Machiel van Dijk & Marc Pomp & Cora Zonderland, 2005. "Competition in markets for life insurance," CPB Document 96, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. Harold Creusen & Bert Minne & Henry van der Wiel, 2006. "Measuring competition in the Netherlands," CPB Memorandum 163, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    4. Trigo Gamarra, Lucinda, 2007. "Single- versus multi-channel distribution strategies in the German life insurance market: A cost and profit efficiency analysis," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 81, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life insurance; market structure; concentration; competition; scale economies; X-inefficiency; profit margins; Boone indicator; translog cost functions; stochastic cost frontier approach.;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance

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