Hidden Insurance in a Moral-Hazard Economy


We analyze the general equilibrium of an economy in which a competitive industry produces nonexclusive insurance services. The equilibrium is inefficient because insurance contracts cannot control moral hazard, and welfare can be improved by policies that reduce insurance by increasing its price above marginal cost. We discuss how insurance production costs that exceed expected claim payments interact with moral hazard in determining the equilibrium’s inefficiency, and show that these costs can make insurance premia so actuarially unfair as to validate the standard first-order conditions we exploit in our analysis.

RAND Journal of Economics