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(Over)insuring Modest Risks

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Abstract:

Despite the large literature on anomalies in risky choice, very little research has explored the relevance of these insights in real insurance markets. This paper uses new data on consumers' choices of deductibles for home insurance to provide evidence that a surprising level of risk aversion over modest stakes is a reality in the market. Most customers purchase low deductibles despite costs significantly above the expected value. Fitting these choices to a standard model of risk aversion yields implausibly large measures of risk parameters. Potential explanations and the implications of these results for understanding the market for insurance are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/app.2.4.177

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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aea/aejae/2010/00000002/00000004/art00007
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