On the Optimal Design of Disaster Insurance in a Federation
Recent experience with disasters and terrorist attacks in the US indicates that state and local governments rely on the federal sector for support after disasters occur. But these same governments are responsible for investing in infrastructure designed to reduce vulnerability to natural and man-made hazards. This division of responsibilities – state governments providing protection from disasters and federal government providing insurance against their occurrence – leads to the tension that is at the heart of our analysis. We explore these tensions building on the model of Persson and Tabellini (1996). We show that when the federal government is committed to full insurance against disasters, states will have incentives to underinvest in costly protective measures. We then show that when the central government cannot verify state investment choices, the optimal insurance system would be designed to reward states that succeed in avoiding disasters and punish those that do not, thereby giving states an incentive to increase investment in protective infrastructure. However, this raises the question of whether the central government can credibly commit to such a scheme, and we find in a simple political model that it cannot. In our political model, the central government will decrease transfers ex-post if a state provides protective infrastructure that increases its expected uncertain income, generating a soft-budget constraint for states. This provides an additional incentive for states to underinvest in protective infrastructure. We discuss these results in light of disaster policy in the US.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2006|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Lexington, KY 40506-0027|
Phone: (859) 257-5741
Fax: (859) 323-1937
Web page: http://www.ifigr.org/
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.:
- David E. Wildasin, 2008. "Disaster Policies," Public Finance Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 36(4), pages 497-518, July.
- Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R, 1994.
"Fiscal Flows in the United States and Canada: Lessons for Monetary Union in Europe,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R., 1995. "Fiscal flows in the United States and Canada: Lessons for monetary union in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 253-274, February.
- Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1986.
"The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan's Dilemma,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
402, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1990. "The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan's Dilemma," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 155-165.
- Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1986. "The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan's Dilemma," Working Papers 650, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Melitz, Jacques & Zumer, Frederic, 2002. "Regional redistribution and stabilization by the center in Canada, France, the UK and the US:: A reassessment and new tests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 263-286, November.
- Horst Raff & John Wilson, 1997. "Income Redistribution with Well-Informed Local Governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(4), pages 407-427, November.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-1159, October.
- Lockwood, Ben, 1997.
9703, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
- Bordignon, Massimo & Manasse, Paolo & Tabellini, Guido, 1996.
"Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1437, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Optimal Regional Redistribution under Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 709-723, June.
- Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, "undated". "Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 93, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Becker, Gary S, 1974.
"A Theory of Social Interactions,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 623-646, May.
- Martin Besfamille & Ben Lockwood, 2008. "Bailouts In Federations: Is A Hard Budget Constraint Always Best?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 577-593, 05.
- Cornes, Richard C. & Silva, Emilson C. D., 2000. "Local Public Goods, Risk Sharing, and Private Information in Federal Systems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 39-60, January.
- David Wildasin, 2007. "Disaster Policy in the US Federation: Intergovernmental Incentives and Institutional Reform," Working Papers 2007-01, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
- Caplan, Arthur J. & Cornes, Richard C. & Silva, Emilson C. D., 2000. "Pure public goods and income redistribution in a federation with decentralized leadership and imperfect labor mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 265-284, August.
- Thomas A. Garrett & Russell S. Sobel, 2002.
"The political economy of FEMA disaster payments,"
2002-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Gilberto Turati & Luigi Buzzacchi, 2009. "Optimal risk allocation in the provision of local public services: can a private insurer be better than a public mutual fund?," Working Papers 2009/21, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
- Timothy Goodspeed, 2002. "Bailouts in a Federation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 409-421, August.
- Nobuo Akai & Emilson Silva, 2009. "Interregional redistribution as a cure to the soft budget syndrome in federations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(1), pages 43-58, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-14. 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: (David E. Wildasin)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.