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Risk Aversion, Insurance, and the Efficiency-Equality Tradeoff

  • Samuel Bowles

    ()

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Herbert Gintis

    ()

Under conditions of informational asymmetry, redistributing the property rights may improve work incentives but lead to an inefficient choice of entrepreneurial risk. We present a model in which reassignment of property rights does not affect factor prices and we show that there exist egalitarian asset redistributions that enhance allocative efficiency. The scope for such redistributions can be broadened by offering fair insurance protecting the independent entrepreneur against risk unassociated with the production process and against production uncertainties that are unrelated to the quality of their individual decisions. The market will generally supply insurance of this type suboptimally.

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File URL: http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/econ2000_03.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2000-03.

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Date of creation: 15 Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2000-03
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  1. Blomqvist, A. & Johansson, P-O., 1997. "Economic efficiency and mixed public/private insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 505-516, December.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1989. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Discussion Papers 877, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Patrick Legros & Andrew Newman, 1996. "Wealth effects, distribution, and the theory of organization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Matoussi, Mohamed Salah, 1995. "Moral Hazard, Financial Constraints and Sharecropping in El Oulja," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 381-99, July.
  5. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1990. " Expected Utility, mu-sigma Preferences, and Linear Distribution Classes: A Further Result," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 277-81, September.
  7. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  8. Dilip Mookherjee, 1995. "Informational Rents and Property Rights in Land," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 55, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  9. Selden, Thomas M., 1997. "More on the economic efficiency of mixed public/private insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 517-523, December.
  10. Black, Jane & de Meza, David, 1997. "Everyone may benefit from subsidising entry to risky occupations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 409-424, December.
  11. Kanbur, S M, 1979. "Of Risk Taking and the Personal Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 769-97, August.
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