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Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market

Amy Finkelstein and James Poterba
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 112, No. 1 (February 2004), pp. 183-208
DOI: 10.1086/379936
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/379936
Page Count: 26
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Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets: Policyholder Evidence from the U.K. Annuity Market
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Abstract

We use a unique data set of annuities in the United Kingdom to test for adverse selection. We find systematic relationships between ex post mortality and annuity characteristics, such as the timing of payments and the possibility of payments to the annuitant's estate. These patterns are consistent with the presence of asymmetric information. However, we find no evidence of substantive mortality differences by annuity size. These results suggest that the absence of selection on one contract dimension does not preclude its presence on others. This highlights the importance of considering detailed features of insurance contracts when testing theoretical models of asymmetric information.

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