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Organizational form and efficiency: an analysis of stock and mutual property-liability insurers

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  • J. David Cummins
  • Mary A. Weiss
  • Hongmin Zi

Abstract

This paper analyzes the efficiency of stock and mutual organizational forms in the property-liability insurance industry using nonparametric frontier efficiency methods. We test the managerial discretion hypothesis, which predicts that the market will sort organizational forms into market segments where they have comparative advantages in minimizing the costs of production, including agency costs. Both production and cost frontiers are estimated. The results indicate that stocks and mutuals are operating on separate production and cost frontiers and thus represent distinct technologies. The stock technology dominates the mutual technology for producing stock output vectors, and the mutual technology dominates the stock technology for producing mutual output vectors. However, the stock cost frontier dominates the mutual cost frontier for the majority of both stock and mutual firms. The finding of separate frontiers and organization-specific technological advantages is consistent with the managerial discretion hypothesis, but we also find evidence that stocks are more successful than mutuals in minimizing costs, suggesting the existence of agency problems in the mutual organizational form.

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss & Hongmin Zi, 1998. "Organizational form and efficiency: an analysis of stock and mutual property-liability insurers," Working Papers 98-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:98-19
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    Cited by:

    1. J.A. Bikker & J. Gorter, 2008. "Performance of the Dutch non-life insurance industry: competition, efficiency and focus," Working Papers 08-01, Utrecht School of Economics.
    2. Hao, James C.J. & Chou, Lin-Yhi, 2005. "The estimation of efficiency for life insurance industry: The case in Taiwan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 847-860, October.
    3. Gonzalo Rodríguez‐Pérez & John Slof & Magda Solà & Margarita Torrent & Immaculada Vilardell, 2011. "Assessing the Impact of Fair‐Value Accounting on Financial Statement Analysis: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 47(1), pages 61-84, March.
    4. Robert W. Klein & Paul R. Kleindorfer, 1999. "The Supply of Catastrophe Insurance Under Regulatory Constraints," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 99-25, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. J. David Cummins & Mary A. Weiss, 1998. "Analyzing Firm Performance in the Insurance Industry Using Frontier Efficiency Methods," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-22, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    6. Sufian, Fadzlan, 2011. "Banks total factor productivity change in a developing economy: Does ownership and origins matter?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 84-98, February.
    7. J. Cummins & Georges Dionne & Robert Gagné & A. Nouira, 2009. "Efficiency of insurance firms with endogenous risk management and financial intermediation activities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 145-159, October.
    8. J. Cummins & Gregory Nini, 2002. "Optimal Capital Utilization by Financial Firms: Evidence from the Property-Liability Insurance Industry," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 21(1), pages 15-53, February.
    9. Cummins, J. David & Rubio-Misas, Maria, 2006. "Deregulation, Consolidation, and Efficiency: Evidence from the Spanish Insurance Industry," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 323-355, March.
    10. Bernhard Mahlberg & Thomas Url, "undated". "The Transition to the Single Market in the German Insurance Industry," WIFO Working Papers 131, WIFO.
    11. Rubio-Misas, María, 2009. "Productividad y eficiencia de las Mutualidades de Previsión Social/Productivity and Efficiency of Social Benefit Institutions," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 27, pages 571(30á)-57, Agosto.
    12. J.Cook & S.Deakin & A.Hughes, 2001. "Mutuality and Corporate Governance: The Evolution of UK Building Societies Following Deregulation," Working Papers wp205, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

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    Keywords

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