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Asymmetric Information and the Demand for Voluntary Health Insurance in Europe

Author

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  • Kristian Bolin
  • Daniel Hedblom
  • Anna Lindgren
  • Bjorn Lindgren

Abstract

Several past studies have found health risk to be negatively correlated with the probability of voluntary health insurance. This is contrary to what one would expect from standard textbook models of adverse selection and moral hazard. The two most common explanations to the counter-intuitive result are either (1) that risk-aversion is correlated with health -- i.e. that healthier individuals are also more risk-averse -- or (2) that insurers are able to discriminate among customers based on observable health-risk characteristics. We revisited these arguments, using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Self-assessed health served as an indicator of risk: better health, lower risk. We did, indeed, observe a negative correlation between risk and insurance but found no evidence of heterogeneous risk-preferences as an explanation to our finding.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristian Bolin & Daniel Hedblom & Anna Lindgren & Bjorn Lindgren, 2010. "Asymmetric Information and the Demand for Voluntary Health Insurance in Europe," NBER Working Papers 15689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15689 Note: HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Stabile & Sarah Thomson, 2014. "The Changing Role of Government in Financing Health Care: An International Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 480-518.
    2. Karlsson, Martin & Klohn, Florian & Rickayzen, Ben, 2012. "Are the dimensions of private information more multiple than expected? Information asymmetries in the market of supplementary private health insurance in England," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 213, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
    3. Mark Stabile & Sarah Thomson, 2014. "The Changing Role of Government in Financing Health Care: An International Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 480-518.
    4. Omar Paccagnella & Vincenzo Rebba & Guglielmo Weber, 2013. "VOLUNTARY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE AMONG THE OVER 50s IN EUROPE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 289-315, March.
    5. Lee, Yong-Woo, 2012. "Asymmetric information and the demand for private health insurance in Korea," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 284-287.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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