Double-sided adverse selection in the product market and the role of the insurance market

ArticleinInternational Economic Review 51(1):125-142 · February 2010with12 Reads
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2354.2009.00573.x · Source: RePEc
Abstract
I investigate the interrelation between a product market and an insurance market when adverse-selection problems exist both in consumers and in firms. Firms offer warranties for product failures. Consumers may further purchase first-party insurance for the residual risks of product failures. Given that the insurance market exists, two types of equilibria are possible: (a) Different firm types offer different pooling warranties attracting both good and bad consumer types or (b) good firms attract only bad consumers and bad firms attract both types of consumers. I discuss the existence and the efficiency implication of the insurance market. Copyright (2010) by the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We discuss the difficult question of measuring the effects of asymmetric information problems on resource allocation. Three problems are examined: moral hazard, adverse selection, and asymmetric learning. One theoretical conclusion, drawn by many authors, is that information problems may introduce significant distortions into the economy. However, we verify, in different markets, that efficient mechanisms have been introduced in order to reduce these distortions and even eliminate, at the margin, some residual information problems. This conclusion is stronger for pure adverse selection. One explanation is that adverse selection is related to exogenous characteristics, while asymmetric learning and moral hazard are due to endogenous actions that may change at any point in time. Dynamic data help to identify the three information problems by permitting causality tests.
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