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Facilitating Consumer Learning in Insurance Markets - What Are the Welfare Effects?

Author

Listed:
  • Johan N. M. Lagerlöf

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

  • Christoph Schottmüller

    (Department of Economics, Tilburg University)

Abstract

What are the welfare effects of a policy that facilitates for insurance customers to privately and covertly learn about their accident risks? We endogenize the information structure in Stiglitz's classic monopoly insurance model. We first show that his results are robust: For a small information acquisition cost c, the consumer gathers information and the optimal contracts are close to the ones in the Stiglitz model. If c is so low that the consumer already gathers information (c c*, marginally reducing c hurts the insurer and weakly benefits the consumer. Paradoxically, a reduction in c that is "successful," meaning that the consumer gathers information after the reduction but not before it, can hurt both parties. The reasons for this are that, after the reduction, (i) the cost is actually incurred and (ii) the contracts can be more distorted.

Suggested Citation

  • Johan N. M. Lagerlöf & Christoph Schottmüller, 2013. "Facilitating Consumer Learning in Insurance Markets - What Are the Welfare Effects?," Discussion Papers 13-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1312
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2013/1312.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tom K. Lee, 1982. "Resource Information Policy and Federal Resource Leasing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 561-568, Autumn.
    2. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Strategic Information Gathering before a Contract Is Offered," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 163-200, July.
    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1977. "Monopoly, Non-linear Pricing and Imperfect Information: The Insurance Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 407-430.
    4. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad, 1992. "Gathering Information before Signing a Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 566-578, June.
    5. Hoy, Michael & Polborn, Mattias, 2000. "The value of genetic information in the life insurance market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 235-252, November.
    6. Chade, Hector & Schlee, Edward, 2012. "Optimal insurance with adverse selection," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(3), September.
    7. Szalay, Dezsö, 2009. "Contracts with endogenous information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 586-625, March.
    8. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad, 1994. "Gathering information before the contract is offered: The case with two states of nature," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 675-682, April.
    9. Craswell, Richard, 1988. "Precontractual Investigation as an Optimal Precaution Problem," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 401-436, June.
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    13. repec:bla:joares:v:25:y:1987:i:1:p:68-89 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Georges Dionne & Nathalie Fombaron & Neil Doherty, 2012. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Contracting," Cahiers de recherche 1231, CIRPEE.
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    Cited by:

    1. Johan N.M. Lagerlöf & Christoph Schotmüller, 2013. "Monopoly Insurance with Endogenous Information," Discussion Papers 13-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric information; information acquisition; insurance; screening; adverse selection;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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