- Self-protection and insurance with interdependencies (2007)
- We study optimal investment in self-protection of insured individuals when they face interdependencies in the form of potential contamination from others. If individuals cannot coordinate their actions, then the positive externality of investing in self-protection implies that, in equilibrium, individuals underinvest in self-protection. Limiting insurance coverage through deductibles or selling “at-fault” insurance can partially internalize this externality and thereby improve individual and social welfare. JEL Classification: C72, D62, D80
- Optimal choice and beliefs with ex ante savoring and ex post disappointment (2006)
- We propose a new decision criterion under risk in which people extract both utility from anticipatory feelings ex ante and disutility from disappointment ex post. The decision maker chooses his degree of optimism, given that more optimism raises both the utility of ex ante feelings and the risk of disappointment ex post. We characterize the optimal beliefs and the preferences under risk generated by this mental process and apply this criterion to a simple portfolio choice/insurance problem. We show that these preferences are consistent with the preference reversal in the Allais’ paradoxes and predict that the decision maker takes on less risk compared to an expected utility maximizer. This speaks to the equity premium puzzle and to the preference for low deductibles in insurance contracts. Keywords: endogenous beliefs, anticipatory feeling, disappointment, optimism, decision under risk, portfolio allocation.
- Mutual versus stock insurers : fair premium, capital and solvency (2006)
- Mutual insurance companies and stock insurance companies are different forms of organized risk sharing: policyholders and owners are two distinct groups in a stock insurer, while they are one and the same in a mutual. This distinction is relevant to raising capital, selling policies, and sharing risk in the presence of financial distress. Up-front capital is necessary for a stock insurer to offer insurance at a fair premium, but not for a mutual. In the presence of an ownermanager conflict, holding capital is costly. Free-rider and commitment problems limit the degree of capitalization that a stock insurer can obtain. The mutual form, by tying sales of policies to the provision of capital, can overcome these problems at the potential cost of less diversified owners. JEL Classification: G22, G32
- Strategic trading and manipulation with spot market power (2006)
- When a spot market monopolist has a position in a corresponding futures market, he has an incentive to deviate from the spot market optimum to make this position more profitable. Rational futures market makers take this into account when setting prices. We show that the monopolist, by randomizing his futures market position, can strategically exploit his market power at the expense of other futures market participants. Furthermore, traders without market power can manipulate futures prices by hiding their orders behind the monopolist's strategic trades. The moral hazard problem stemming from spot market power thus provides a venue for strategic trading and manipulation that parallels the adverse selection problem stemming from inside information. Klassifikation: D82, G13
- Insuring the uninsurable : brokers and incomplete insurance contracts (2005)
- How do markets spread risk when events are unknown or unknowable and where not anticipated in an insurance contract? While the policyholder can "hold up" the insurer for extra contractual payments, the continuing gains from trade on a single contract are often too small to yield useful coverage. By acting as a repository of the reputations of the parties, we show the brokers provide a coordinating mechanism to leverage the collective hold up power of policyholders. This extends both the degree of implicit and explicit coverage. The role is reflected in the terms of broker engagement, specifically in the ownership by the broker of the renewal rights. Finally, we argue that brokers can be motivated to play this role when they receive commissions that are contingent on insurer profits. This last feature questions a recent, well publicized, attack on broker compensation by New York attorney general, Elliot Spitzer. Klassifikation: G22, G24, L14
- Insuring non-verifiable losses (2011)
- Insurance contracts are often complex and difficult to verify outside the insurance relation. We show that standard one-period insurance policies with an upper limit and a deductible are the optimal incentive-compatible contracts in a competitive market with repeated interaction. Optimal group insurance policies involve a joint upper limit but individual deductibles and insurance brokers can play a role implementing such contracts for the group of clients. Our model provides new insights and predictions about the determinants of insurance.
- Mutual versus stock insurers : fair premium, capital, and solvency (2007)
- Mutual insurance companies and stock insurance companies are different forms of organized risk sharing: policyholders and owners are two distinct groups in a stock insurer, while they are one and the same in a mutual. This distinction is relevant to raising capital, selling policies, and sharing risk in the presence of financial distress. Up-front capital is necessary for a stock insurer to offer insurance at a fair premium, but not for a mutual. In the presence of an owner-manager conflict, holding capital is costly. Free-rider and commitment problems limit the degree of capitalization that a stock insurer can obtain. The mutual form, by tying sales of policies to the provision of capital, can overcome these problems at the potential cost of less diversified owners.
- Hidden regret in insurance markets : adverse and advantageous selection (2008)
- We examine insurance markets with two types of customers: those who regret suboptimal decisions and those who don.t. In this setting, we characterize the equilibria under hidden information about the type of customers and hidden action. We show that both pooling and separating equilibria can exist. Furthermore, there exist separating equilibria that predict a positive correlation between the amount of insurance coverage and risk type, as in the standard economic models of adverse selection, but there also exist separating equilibria that predict a negative correlation between the amount of insurance coverage and risk type, i.e. advantageous selection. Since optimal choice of regretful customers depends on foregone alternatives, any equilibrium includes a contract which is o¤ered but not purchased.
- Monopoly power limits hedging (2008)
- When a spot market monopolist participates in a derivatives market, she has an incentive to deviate from the spot market monopoly optimum to make her derivatives market position more profitable. When contracts can only be written contingent on the spot price, a risk-averse monopolist chooses to participate in the derivatives market to hedge her risk, and she reduces expected profits by doing so. However, eliminating all risk is impossible. These results are independent of the shape of the demand function, the distribution of demand shocks, the nature of preferences or the set of derivatives contracts.