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Harmful competition in the insurance markets

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  • De Feo, Giuseppe
  • Hindriks, Jean

Abstract

There is a general presumption that competition is a good thing. In this paper we show that competition in the insurance markets can be bad and that adverse selection is in general worse under competition than under monopoly. The reason is that monopoly can exploit its market power to relax incentive constraints by cross-subsidization between different risk types. Cream-skimming behavior, on the contrary, prevents competitive firms from using implicit transfers. In effect monopoly is shown to provide better coverage to those buying insurance but at the cost of limiting participation to insurance. Performing simulation for di erent distributions of risk, we find that monopoly in general performs (much) better than competition in terms of the realization of the gains from trade across all traders in equilibrium. However, most of the surplus is retained by the firm and, as a result, most individuals prefer competitive markets notwithstanding their performance is generally poorer than monopoly.

Suggested Citation

  • De Feo, Giuseppe & Hindriks, Jean, 2009. "Harmful competition in the insurance markets," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-46, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:88
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10943/88
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    1. Less competition is good for insurance
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-05-19 19:14:00

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    monopoly; competition; insurance; adverse selection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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