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Insurance Demand for Disaster-type Risks and the Separation of Attitudes toward Risk and Ambiguity: an Experimental Study

Author

Listed:
  • Marielle Brunette

    ()

  • Laure Cabantous

    (Nottingham University Business School)

  • Stéphane Couture

    () (Laboratoire d'Economie Forestière, INRA - AgroParisTech)

  • Anne Stenger

    () (Laboratoire d'Economie Forestière, INRA - AgroParisTech)

Abstract

This article presents the results of an experiment designed to test theoretical predictions about the impact of public compensation schemes and ambiguity on insurance and self-insurance decisions. Consistent with theory, we find that government assistance significantly reduces willingness to pay (WTP) for insurance and self-insurance (compared with a free insurance market). As expected, we also find significant differences between WTPs for insurance under different types of government compensation programs. For example, results from our experiment confirm the prediction that the WTP for insurance is smaller under a “Fixed Help” program than under a “Contingent Fixed Help” program where the government assistance is conditioned to the purchase of an insurance policy. Thirdly, we find that ambiguity, i.e., uncertainty about probability, significantly increases WTPs for insurance. This result, which indicates that decision-makers are ambiguity averse, is in line with previous results on the impact of ambiguity on insurance demand for low probability risks. Lastly, our experiment provides a clear support for the hypothesis that attitude to risk and attitude to ambiguity are two independent phenomena. In fact in this experiment, decision-makers are both risk-seekers (i.e., the mean WTP for insurance is on average smaller than the expected value of the loss) and ambiguity averse (i.e., the mean WTP for insurance is on average higher for an ambiguous risk than for a ’risky’ risk).

Suggested Citation

  • Marielle Brunette & Laure Cabantous & Stéphane Couture & Anne Stenger, 2008. "Insurance Demand for Disaster-type Risks and the Separation of Attitudes toward Risk and Ambiguity: an Experimental Study," Working Papers - Cahiers du LEF 2008-05, Laboratoire d'Economie Forestiere, AgroParisTech-INRA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lef:wpaper:2008-05
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul A. Raschky & Reimund Schwarze & Manijeh Schwindt & Ferdinand Zahn, "undated". "Uncertainty of Governmental Relief and the Crowding out of Insurance," Working Papers 2010-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    2. Paul Raschky & Reimund Schwarze & Manijeh Schwindt & Ferdinand Zahn, 2013. "Uncertainty of Governmental Relief and the Crowding out of Flood Insurance," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(2), pages 179-200, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experimental Economics; Insurance; Self-Insurance; Public Policy; Forest; Ambiguity; Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry

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