IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/feb/natura/00338.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The effects of statistical information on risk ambiguity attitudes, and on rational insurance decisions

Author

Listed:
  • Irma Machielse
  • Danielle Timmermans
  • Peter Wakker

Abstract

This paper presents a field study into the effects of statistical information concerning risks on willingness to take insurance, with special attention being paid to the usefulness of these effects for the clients (the insured). Unlike many academic studies, we were able to use in-depth individual interviews of a large representative sample from the general public (N = 476). The statistical information that had the most interesting effects, "individual own past-cost information," unfortunately enhanced adverse selection, which we could directly verify because the real health costs of the clients were known. For a prescriptive evaluation this drawback must be weighted against some advantages: a desirable interaction with risk attitude, increased customer satisfaction, and increased cost awareness. Descriptively, ambiguity seeking was found rather than ambiguity aversion, and no risk aversion was found for loss outcomes. Both findings, obtained in a natural decision context, deviate from traditional views in risk theory but are in line with prospect theory. We confirmed prospect theory's reflection at the level of group averages but falsified it at the individual level.

Suggested Citation

  • Irma Machielse & Danielle Timmermans & Peter Wakker, 2007. "The effects of statistical information on risk ambiguity attitudes, and on rational insurance decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00338, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00338
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers2/papers/00338.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1993. "Testing for Juxtaposition and Event-Splitting Effects," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 235-254, June.
    2. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-277, June.
    3. John C. Hershey & Howard C. Kunreuther & Paul J. H. Schoemaker, 1982. "Sources of Bias in Assessment Procedures for Utility Functions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(8), pages 936-954, August.
    4. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    5. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    6. Marquis, M Susan & Holmer, Martin R, 1996. "Alternative Models of Choice under Uncertainty and Demand for Health Insurance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 421-427, August.
    7. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    8. McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D & Coursey, Don L, 1993. "Insurance for Low-Probability Hazards: A Bimodal Response to Unlikely Events," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 95-116, August.
    9. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    10. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1985. "Ambiguity and Insurance Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 386-390, May.
    11. Cohen, Michele & Jaffray, Jean-Yves & Said, Tanios, 1987. "Experimental comparison of individual behavior under risk and under uncertainty for gains and for losses," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-22, February.
    12. Han Bleichrodt & Jose Luis Pinto, 2000. "A Parameter-Free Elicitation of the Probability Weighting Function in Medical Decision Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(11), pages 1485-1496, November.
    13. Martin Weber & Franz Eisenführ & Detlof von Winterfeldt, 1988. "The Effects of Splitting Attributes on Weights in Multiattribute Utility Measurement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(4), pages 431-445, April.
    14. Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603.
    15. Daniel Ellsberg, 2000. "Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7605, David K. Levine.
    16. Wing Suen, 2004. "The Self-Perpetuation of Biased Beliefs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 377-396, April.
    17. Chow, Clare Chua & Sarin, Rakesh K, 2001. "Comparative Ignorance and the Ellsberg Paradox," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 129-139, March.
    18. Joost M. E. Pennings & Ale Smidts, 2003. "The Shape of Utility Functions and Organizational Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(9), pages 1251-1263, September.
    19. Carmela Di Mauro & Anna Maffioletti, 2001. "The Valuation of Insurance under Uncertainty: Does Information about Probability Matter?," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 26(3), pages 195-224, December.
    20. Mangelsdorff, Lukas & Weber, Martin, 1994. "Testing choquet expected utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 437-457, December.
    21. Finkelstein, Amy, 2004. "The interaction of partial public insurance programs and residual private insurance markets: evidence from the US Medicare program," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-24, January.
    22. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-195, March.
    23. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    24. Ho, Joanna L Y & Keller, L Robin & Keltyka, Pamela, 2002. "Effects of Outcome and Probabilistic Ambiguity on Managerial Choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 47-74, January.
    25. Thomas Langer & Martin Weber, 2001. "Prospect Theory, Mental Accounting, and Differences in Aggregated and Segregated Evaluation of Lottery Portfolios," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 716-733, May.
    26. Daniel McFadden, 2006. "Free Markets and Fettered Consumers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 5-29, March.
    27. Viscusi, W Kip & Magat, Wesley A, 1992. "Bayesian Decisions with Ambiguous Belief Aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 371-387, October.
    28. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    29. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
    30. Fox, Craig R. & Weber, Martin, 2002. "Ambiguity Aversion, Comparative Ignorance, and Decision Context," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 476-498, May.
    31. Einhorn, Hillel J & Hogarth, Robin M, 1986. "Decision Making under Ambiguity," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 225-250, October.
    32. Peter Wakker & Veronika Köbberling & Christiane Schwieren, 2007. "Prospect-theory’s Diminishing Sensitivity Versus Economics’ Intrinsic Utility of Money: How the Introduction of the Euro can be Used to Disentangle the Two Empirically," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 205-231, November.
    33. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    34. M. Kate Bundorf & Kosali I. Simon, 2006. "The Effects of Rate Regulation on Demand for Supplemental Health Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 67-71, May.
    35. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1989. "Risk, Ambiguity, and Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-35, April.
    36. Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1998. "A Belief-Based Account of Decision Under Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(7), pages 879-895, July.
    37. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
    38. Bateman, Ian J, et al, 1997. "Does Part-Whole Bias Exist? An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 322-332, March.
    39. Michael Kilka & Martin Weber, 2001. "What Determines the Shape of the Probability Weighting Function Under Uncertainty?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(12), pages 1712-1726, December.
    40. Dobbs, Ian M, 1991. "A Bayesian Approach to Decision-Making under Ambiguity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(232), pages 417-440, November.
    41. Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. "Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
    42. Carson, R.T. & Mitchell, R.C. & Hanemann, W.M. & Kopp, R.J. & Presser, S. & Ruud, P.A., 1992. "A Contingent Valuation Study of Lost Passive Use Values Resulting From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill," MPRA Paper 6984, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    43. Hsee, Christopher K & Kunreuther, Howard C, 2000. "The Affection Effect in Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 141-159, March.
    44. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    45. John W. Payne & Dan J. Laughhunn & Roy Crum, 1980. "Translation of Gambles and Aspiration Level Effects in Risky Choice Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(10), pages 1039-1060, October.
    46. Kahn, Barbara E & Sarin, Rakesh K, 1988. " Modeling Ambiguity in Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 265-272, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. K. P. M. van Winssen & R. C. van Kleef & W. P. M. M. van de Ven, 2016. "The demand for health insurance and behavioural economics," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(6), pages 653-657, July.
    2. K. P. M. Winssen & R. C. Kleef & W. P. M. M. Ven, 2016. "Potential determinants of deductible uptake in health insurance: How to increase uptake in The Netherlands?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(9), pages 1059-1072, December.
    3. Botzen, W.J.W. & van den Bergh, J.C.J.M., 2012. "Risk attitudes to low-probability climate change risks: WTP for flood insurance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 151-166.
    4. repec:eee:jetheo:v:175:y:2018:i:c:p:730-765 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00338. 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: (Joe Seidel). General contact details of provider: http://www.fieldexperiments.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.