Moral Hazard in a Mutual Health-Insurance System: German Knappschaften, 1867-1914
This paper studies moral hazard in a sickness-insurance fund that provided the model for social-insurance schemes around the world. The German Knappschaften were formed in the medieval period to provide sickness, accident, and death benefits for miners. By the mid-nineteenth century, participation in the Knappschaft was compulsory for workers in mines and related occupations, and the range and generosity of benefits had expanded considerably. Each Knappschaft was locally controlled and self-funded, and their admirers saw in them the ability to use local knowledge and good incentives to deliver benefits at low costs. The Knappschaft underlies Bismarck's sickness and accident insurance legislation (1883 and 1884), which in turn forms the basis of the German social-insurance system today and, indirectly, many social-insurance systems around the world. This paper focuses on a problem central to any insurance system, and one that plagued the Knappschaften as they grew larger in the later nineteenth century: the problem of moral hazard. Replacement pay for sick miners made it attractive, on the margin, for miners to invent or exaggerate conditions that made it impossible for them to work. Here we outline the moral hazard problem the Knappschaften faced as well as the internal mechanisms they devised to control it. We then use econometric models to demonstrate that those mechanisms were at best imperfect.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: PO Box 8268, New Haven CT 06520-8268|
Phone: (203) 432-3576
Fax: (203) 432-5779
Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/ddp/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2006.
"Health Insurance and Ex Ante Moral Hazard: Evidence from Medicare,"
NBER Working Papers
12764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Health insurance and ex ante moral hazard: evidence from Medicare," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 367-390, December.
- Bentley B. Gilbert, 1965. "The Decay of Nineteenth-Century Provident Institutions and the Coming of Old Age Pensions in Great Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 17(3), pages 551-563, 04.
- Gottlieb, Daniel, 2007. "Asymmetric information in late 19th century cooperative insurance societies," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 270-292, April.
- Gerhard Bry, 1960. "Introduction to "Wages in Germany, 1871-1945"," NBER Chapters, in: Wages in Germany, 1871-1945, pages 1-13 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Emery, J. C. Herbert, 1996. "Risky Business? Nonactuarial Pricing Practices and the Financial Viability of Fraternal Sickness Insurers," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 195-226, April.
- Gerhard Bry, 1960. "Wages in Germany, 1871-1945," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bry_60-1, 07.
- Murray, John E. & Nilsson, Lars, 2007. "Accident risk compensation in late imperial Austria: Wage differentials and social insurance," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 568-587, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:70. 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.