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Risk preferences over small stakes: Evidence from deductible choice

  • Janko Gorter
  • Paul Schilp

This paper provides new field evidence on risk preferences over small stakes. Using unique population and survey data on deductible choice in Dutch universal health insurance, we find that risk preferences are a dominant factor in decision aking. In fact, our results indicate that risk preferences are both statistically and quantitatively more significant in explaining deductible choice behavior than risk type. This finding contrasts with classical expected utility theory, as it implies risk neutrality over small stakes. More recently developed reference-dependent utility models, however, can rationalize risk aversion over small stakes, on account of loss aversion and narrow framing.

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File URL: http://www.dnb.nl/en/binaries/working%20Paper%20338_tcm47-268856.pdf
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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 338.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:338
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Web page: http://www.dnb.nl/en/

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  1. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
  2. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2007. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 745-788, June.
  3. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334.
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  5. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "How does future income affect current consumption?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 126, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Alma Cohen & Peter Siegelman, 2009. "Testing for Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 15586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cicchetti, Charles J & Dubin, Jeffrey A, 1994. "A Microeconometric Analysis of Risk Aversion and the Decision to Self-Insure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 169-86, February.
  8. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviours," CEPR Discussion Papers 4591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  10. Puelz, Robert & Snow, Arthur, 1994. "Evidence on Adverse Selection: Equilibrium Signaling and Cross-Subsidization in the Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 236-57, April.
  11. Dahlby, B. G., 1983. "Adverse selection and statistical discrimination : An analysis of Canadian automobile insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 121-130, February.
  12. Gerdtham, U. -G. & Johannesson, M. & Lundberg, L. & Isacson, D., 1999. "A note on validating Wagstaff and van Doorslaer's health measure in the analysis of inequalities in health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 117-124, January.
  13. Rob Alessie & Stefan Hochguertel & Arthur van Soest, 2004. "Ownership of Stocks and Mutual Funds: A Panel Data Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 783-796, August.
  14. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2006. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David M. Cutler & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Anatomy of Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 7176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. van Rooij, M.C.J. & Kool, C.J.M. & Prast, H.M., 2007. "Risk-return preferences in the pension domain : Are people able to choose?," Other publications TiSEM 22820590-ad4e-4abc-bd21-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  17. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
  18. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-381463 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Cutler, David & McGarry, Kathleen & Finkelstein, Amy, 2008. "Preference Heterogeneity and Insurance Markets: Explaining a Puzzle of Insurance," Scholarly Articles 2640581, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Alma Cohen, 2005. "Asymmetric Information and Learning: Evidence from the Automobile Insurance Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 197-207, May.
  21. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  22. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2008. "Modeling Competition and Market Equilibrium in Insurance: Empirical Issues," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 146-50, May.
  23. Kuniyoshi Saito, 2006. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in the Automobile Insurance Market Under Rate Regulation," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 73(2), pages 335-356.
  24. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, May.
  25. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F23-34, February.
  26. van Kleef, R.C. & Beck, K. & van de Ven, W.P.M.M. & van Vliet, R.C.J.A., 2008. "Risk equalization and voluntary deductibles: A complex interaction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 427-443, March.
  27. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
  28. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
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