IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Dysfunctional Non-Market Institutions and the Market


  • Richard J. Arnott
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz


There is a widespread belief that when significant market failure occurs, there are strong incentives for non-market institutions to develop which go at least part of the way to remedying the deficiency. We demonstrate that this functionalist position is not in general valid. In particular, we examine a situation where insurance is characterized by moral hazard. We show that when market insurance is provided, supplementary mutual assistance between family and friends (unobservable to market insurers) -- a form of non-market institution -- will occur and may be harmful. This example suggests that non-market institutions can arise spontaneously even though they are dysfunctional.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard J. Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Dysfunctional Non-Market Institutions and the Market," NBER Working Papers 2666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2666
    Note: IFM

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Arnott & Joseph Stiglitz, 1986. "The Welfare Economics of Moral Hazard," Working Papers 635, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    2. Marshall, John M, 1976. "Moral Hazard," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 880-890, December.
    3. Mark V. Pauly, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62.
    4. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    5. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-472, June.
    6. Arnott, Richard J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1988. " The Basic Analytics of Moral Hazard," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(3), pages 383-413.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mezgebo, Taddese & Dereje, Fikadu, 2010. "Structure, conduct and performance of grain trading in Tigray and its impact on demand for commodity exchange: The case Maychew, Mokone, Alemata, Mekelle and Himora," MPRA Paper 24901, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2666. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.