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Randomization with Asymmetric Information


  • Richard J. Arnott
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz


It is by now well-known that, in the presence of moral hazard or adverse selection, randomization of insurance premia and benefits may be Pareto efficient. This paper: i) provides a typology of the various forms that randomization may take; ii) derives necessary and/or sufficient conditions for the desirability of these various forms of randomization; iii) obtains some simple characterization theorems of the efficient random policies; iv) gives some intuition behind the results; and v) considers why randomization appears to occur less often in practice than the theory suggests it should.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard J. Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," NBER Working Papers 2507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2507

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    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
    2. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
    3. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-154, Summer.
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