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Are the dimensions of private information more multiple than expected? Information asymmetries in the market of supplementary private health insurance in England

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  • Karlsson, Martin
  • Klohn, Florian
  • Rickayzen, Ben

Abstract

Our study reexamines standard econometric approaches for the detection of information asymmetries on insurance markets. We claim that evidence based on a standard framework with 2 equations, which uses potential sources of information asymmetries, should stress the importance of heterogeneity in the parameters. We argue that conclusions derived from this methodology can be misleading if the estimated coefficients in such an `unused characteristics' framework are driven by different parts of the population. We show formally that an individual's expected risk from the perspective of insurance, conditioned on certain characteristics (which are not used for calculating the risk premium), can equal the population's expectation in risk - although such characteristics are both related to risk and insurance probability, which is usually interpreted as an indicator of information asymmetries. We provide empirical evidence on the existence of information asymmetries in the market for supplementary private health insurance in the UK. Overall, we found evidence for advantageous selection into the private risk pool; ie people with lower health risk tend to insure more. The main drivers of this phenomenon seem to be characteristics such as income and wealth. Nevertheless, we also found parameter heterogeneity to be relevant, leading to possible misinterpretation if the standard `unused characteristics' approach is applied.

Suggested Citation

  • Karlsson, Martin & Klohn, Florian & Rickayzen, Ben, 2012. "Are the dimensions of private information more multiple than expected? Information asymmetries in the market of supplementary private health insurance in England," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 213, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:darddp:dar_57826
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Salanie, Bernard, 1997. "Empirical contract theory: The case of insurance data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 943-950, April.
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    5. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334.
    6. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Mark R. Cullen, 2010. "Estimating Welfare in Insurance Markets Using Variation in Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 877-921.
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    9. Propper, Carol & Rees, Hedley & Green, Katherine, 2001. "The Demand for Private Medical Insurance in the UK: A Cohort Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages 180-200, May.
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    12. Dardanoni, V & Li Donni, P, 2008. "Testing For Asymmetric Information In Insurance Markets With Unobservable Types," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 08/26, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information Asymmetries; Insurance markets; Applied Econometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General

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