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Separating Moral Hazard from Adverse Selection: Evidence from the U.S. Federal Crop Insurance Program

  • Michael J. Roberts

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa & Sea Grant)

  • Erik O'Donoghue

    ()

    (USDA Economic Research Service)

  • Nigel Key

    ()

    (USDA Economic Research Service)

We use data from the administrative les of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency to examine how the distribution of crop yields changed as individual farmers shifted into and out of the federal crop insurance program. The large panel facilitates use of fixed effects that span each combination of farmer and production practice to account for unobserved differences in farmer abilities, risk preferences and soils, in addition to fixed effects for interactions between all years and all counties to account for geographically-specific technological change, local prices, and weather. We also account for farm-specific yield variances. Conditional on this large set of fixed effects, we estimate the mean shift in yield and non-parametrically estimate the shift in the distribution around the conditional mean associated with enrollment incrop insurance. Because differences between farmer and land types have been accounted for (i.e., controlling for adverse selection), the estimated shifts in yield distributions likely reflect moral hazard. For most crops in most states we find insurance is associated with statistically signi cant but small downward shifts in average yield. The largest shifts occur for cotton and rice, the highest-value of ve crops considered. By integrating the estimated shift in yield distributions over actual indemnities paid, we provide estimates of the total indemnities paid due to moral hazard. Our results indicate moral hazard accounted for an estimated $53.7 million in indemnities between 1992 and 2001, which amounts to 0.9% of indemnities paid to the insured crops and states considered.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_14-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2014
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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201410.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201410
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  1. W. Henry Chiu & Edi Karni, 1998. "Endogenous Adverse Selection and Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 806-827, August.
  2. Richard E. Just & Linda Calvin & John Quiggin, 1999. "Adverse Selection in Crop Insurance: Actuarial and Asymmetric Information Incentives," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 834-849.
  3. Alma Cohen & Rajeev Dehejia, 2003. "The Effect of Automobile Insurance and Accident Liability Laws in Traffic Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 9602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Quiggin, John C. & Karagiannis, Giannis & Stanton, J., 1993. "Crop Insurance And Crop Production: An Empirical Study Of Moral Hazard And Adverse Selection," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 37(02), August.
  5. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, 06.
  6. Chiappori, P.A. & Durand, F. & Geoffard, P.Y., 1998. "Moral Hazard and the Demand for Physician Services: First Lessons from a French Natural Experiment," DELTA Working Papers 98-05, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2014. "Testing for Asymmetric Information Using “Unused Observables” in Insurance Markets: Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 81(4), pages 709-734, December.
  8. Barry K. Goodwin & Alan P. Ker, 1998. "Nonparametric Estimation of Crop Yield Distributions: Implications for Rating Group-Risk Crop Insurance Contracts," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 139-153.
  9. Jaap H. Abbring & James J. Heckman & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard In Insurance: Can Dynamic Data Help to Distinguish?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 512-521, 04/05.
  10. Vincent H. Smith & Barry K. Goodwin, 1996. "Crop Insurance, Moral Hazard, and Agricultural Chemical Use," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(2), pages 428-438.
  11. Babcock, Bruce A. & Hennessy, David A., 1996. "Input Demand Under Yield and Revenue Insurance," Staff General Research Papers 794, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Keeley, Michael C, 1990. "Deposit Insurance, Risk, and Market Power in Banking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1183-1200, December.
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