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Low-probability insurance decisions: The role of concern


  • Schade, Christian
  • Kunreuther, Howard
  • Kaas, Klaus Peter


On the basis of a real high stakes insurance experiment with small probabilities of losses, we demonstrate that concern is a more important driver of WTP for insurance than subjective probability estimates when there is ambiguity surrounding the estimate. Concern is still important when probabilities are exactly given. It also helps explaining the low probability insurance puzzle well known from the literature, where a part of individuals pays too much and a part nothing for coverage, a result we are able to replicate. In our experiment, belonging to either the group of threshold persons or to those that pay far too much, is not related to probability judgments but to the degree an individual is concerned in our decision situation.

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  • Schade, Christian & Kunreuther, Howard & Kaas, Klaus Peter, 2002. "Low-probability insurance decisions: The role of concern," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,23, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200223

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D & Coursey, Don L, 1993. "Insurance for Low-Probability Hazards: A Bimodal Response to Unlikely Events," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 95-116, August.
    2. Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603.
    3. Bohm, Peter & Linden, Johan & Sonnegard, Joakim, 1997. "Eliciting Reservation Prices: Becker-DeGroot-Marschak Mechanisms vs. Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1079-1089, July.
    4. Hsee, Christopher K & Kunreuther, Howard C, 2000. "The Affection Effect in Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 141-159, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Levesque, Moren & Schade, Christian, 2005. "Intuitive optimizing: experimental findings on time allocation decisions with newly formed ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 313-342, May.

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