IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sip/dpaper/04-031.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice

Author

Listed:
  • Alma Cohen

    () (Harvard Law School)

  • Liran Einav

    () (Stanford University)

Abstract

We use a large data set of deductible choices in auto insurance contracts to estimate the distribution of risk preferences in our sample. To do so, we develop a structural econometric model, which accounts for adverse selection by allowing for unobserved heterogeneity in both risk (probability of an accident) and risk aversion. Ex-post claim information separately identifies the marginal distribution of risk, while the joint distribution of risk and risk aversion is identified by the deductible choice. We find that individuals in our sample have on average an estimated absolute risk aversion which is higher than other estimates found in the literature. Using annual income as a measure of wealth, we find an average two-digit coefficient of relative risk aversion. We also find that women tend to be more risk averse than men, that proxies for income and wealth are positively related to absolute risk aversion, that unobserved heterogeneity in risk preferences is higher relative to that of risk, and that unobserved risk is positively correlated with unobserved risk aversion. Finally, we use our results for counterfactual exercises that assess the profitability of insurance contracts under various assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2005. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," Discussion Papers 04-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:04-031
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/04-031.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Matthews, Steven & Moore, John, 1987. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 441-467, March.
    2. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Puelz, Robert & Snow, Arthur, 1994. "Evidence on Adverse Selection: Equilibrium Signaling and Cross-Subsidization in the Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 236-257, April.
    4. repec:adr:anecst:y:2003:i:69:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Armstrong, Mark, 1999. "Optimal Regulation with Unknown Demand and Cost Functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 196-215, February.
    6. Fishburn, Peter C & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Time Preference," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(3), pages 677-694, October.
    7. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Estimating Preferences under Risk: The Case of Racetrack Bettors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 503-530, June.
    8. 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.
    9. Bertrand Villeneuve, 2003. "Concurrence et antisélection multidimensionnelle en assurance," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 69, pages 119-142.
    10. Auld, M Christopher, et al, 2001. "The Efficacy of Construction Site Safety Inspections," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 900-921, October.
    11. Cooper, Russell & Hayes, Beth, 1987. "Multi-period insurance contracts," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 211-231.
    12. J. H. Abbring & P.-A. Chiappori & J. J. Heckman & J. Pinquet, 2002. "Testing for Moral Hazard on Dynamic Insurance Data," THEMA Working Papers 2002-24, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    13. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    14. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-374, June.
    15. Georges Dionne & Pierre Lasserre, 1985. "Adverse Selection, Repeated Insurance Contracts and Announcement Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 719-723.
    16. Richard Watt, 2002. "Defending Expected Utility Theory: Comment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 227-229, Spring.
    17. Dionne, G & Vanasse, C, 1992. "Automobile Insurance Ratemaking in the Presence of Asymmetrical Information," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 149-165, April-Jun.
    18. Cardon, James H & Hendel, Igal, 2001. "Asymmetric Information in Health Insurance: Evidence from the National Medical Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 408-427, Autumn.
    19. P. Damlen & J. Wakefield & S. Walker, 1999. "Gibbs sampling for Bayesian non-conjugate and hierarchical models by using auxiliary variables," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 61(2), pages 331-344.
    20. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Schotman, Peter C, 2001. "Measuring Risk Attitudes in a Natural Experiment: Data from the Television Game Show Lingo," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 821-848, October.
    21. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    22. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2000. "Screening Risk-Averse Agents Under Moral Hazard," Working Papers 2000-41, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    23. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
    24. J. David Cummins & Jack VanDerhei, 1979. "A Note on the Relative Efficiency of Property-Liability Insurance Distribution Systems," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 709-719, Autumn.
    25. Alma Cohen, 2005. "Asymmetric Information and Learning: Evidence from the Automobile Insurance Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 197-207, May.
    26. Richard Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 344-362, Autumn.
    27. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    28. Kachelmeier, Steven J & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Examining Risk Preferences under High Monetary Incentives: Experimental Evidence from the People's Republic of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1120-1141, December.
    29. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    30. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    31. Dionne, Georges & Doherty, Neil A, 1994. "Adverse Selection, Commitment, and Renegotiation: Extension to and Evidence from Insurance Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 209-235, April.
    32. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2006. "Asymmetric information in insurance: general testable implications," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 783-798, December.
    33. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5370 is not listed on IDEAS
    34. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 2004. "Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 183-208, February.
    35. Saha, Atanu, 1997. "Risk Preference Estimation in the Nonlinear Mean Standard Deviation Approach," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 770-782, October.
    36. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Rewards, Experience and Decision Costs in First Price Auctions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 237-245, April.
    37. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 2001. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 249-262, Summer.
    38. Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio & Serrano, Roberto, 2006. "Rejecting small gambles under expected utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 250-259, May.
    39. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & Elisabet Rutstrom, 2004. "Preference heterogeneity in experiments: Comparing the field and lab," Artefactual Field Experiments 00004, The Field Experiments Website.
    40. 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.
    41. Metrick, Andrew, 1995. "A Natural Experiment in "Jeopardy!"," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 240-253, March.
    42. Jean-Charles Rochet & Lars A. Stole, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311.
    43. Cicchetti, Charles J & Dubin, Jeffrey A, 1994. "A Microeconometric Analysis of Risk Aversion and the Decision to Self-Insure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 169-186, February.
    44. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 56-78, February.
    45. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, June.
    46. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
    47. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-195, March.
    48. repec:adr:anecst:y:2003:i:69 is not listed on IDEAS
    49. Robert Gertner, 1993. "Game Shows and Economic Behavior: Risk-Taking on "Card Sharks"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 507-521.
    50. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    51. D'Arcy, Stephen P & Doherty, Neil A, 1990. "Adverse Selection, Private Information, and Lowballing in Insurance Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(2), pages 145-164, April.
    52. Evans, William N & Viscusi, W Kip, 1991. "Estimation of State-Dependent Utility Functions Using Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 94-104, February.
    53. Michael Landsberger & Isaac Meilijson, 1999. "A general model of insurance under adverse selection," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 14(2), pages 331-352.
    54. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    55. Tversky, Amos & Wakker, Peter, 1995. "Risk Attitudes and Decision Weights," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1255-1280, November.
    56. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
    57. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2003. "The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 828-843, November.
    58. Kunreuther, Howard & Pauly, Mark, 1985. "Market equilibrium with private knowledge : An insurance example," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 269-288, April.
    59. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk aversion; adverse selection; structural estimation; mixture models;

    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

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:sip:dpaper:04-031. 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: (Anne Shor). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cestaus.html .

    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.