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Multiple Dimensions of Private Information in Life Insurance Markets

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  • Xi Wu
  • Li Gan

Abstract

Conventional theory for private information of adverse selection predicts a positive correlation between insurance coverage and ex post risk. This paper shows the opposite in the life insurance market despite the clear evidence of private information on mortality risk. The reason for this contradictory result is the existence of multiple dimensions of private information. The paper discusses how the private information on insurance preference offsets the effect of the private information on mortality risk. A mixture density model is applied to disentangle these two effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Xi Wu & Li Gan, 2013. "Multiple Dimensions of Private Information in Life Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 19629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19629
    Note: AG HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2003. "The Role of Commitment in Dynamic Contracts: Evidence from Life Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 299-328.
    2. He, Daifeng, 2009. "The life insurance market: Asymmetric information revisited," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1090-1097, October.
    3. Walliser, Jan & Winter, Joachim, 1998. "Tax incentives, bequest motives and the demand for life insurance : evidence from Germany," Papers 99-28, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    4. Li Gan & Manuel A. Hernandez, 2013. "Making Friends with Your Neighbors? Agglomeration and Tacit Collusion in The Lodging Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 1002-1017, July.
    5. Smart, Michael, 2000. "Competitive Insurance Markets with Two Unobservables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 153-169, February.
    6. Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
    7. Hakansson, Nils H, 1969. "Optimal Investment and Consumption Strategies under Risk, an Uncertain Lifetime, and Insurance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 10(3), pages 443-466, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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