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Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 1 of 30

2 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 2 of 30

3 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 3 of 30 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. F ERNANDO Q UIJANO, Y VONN Q UIJANO, AND X IAO X UAN X U P R E P A R E D B Y “Does my insurance policy cover accidental death from bungee jumping?”

4 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 4 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard A P P L Y I N G T H E C O N C E P T S 1 2 Why does a new car lose about 20 percent of its value in the first week? The Resale Value of a Week-Old Car How can government solve the adverse-selection problem? Regulation of the California Kiwifruit Market Does the market for baseball pitchers suffer from the adverse-selection problem? Baseball Pitchers Are Like Used Cars Who benefits from better information about risks? Genetic Testing Benefits Low-Risk People How does adverse selection affect the price of insurance? Why is Car Insurance so Expensive in Philadelphia? 3 4 5

5 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 5 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard asymmetric information A situation in which one side of the market—either buyers or sellers—has better information than the other. mixed market A market in which goods of different qualities are sold for the same price. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

6 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 6 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Uninformed Buyers and Knowledgeable Sellers How much is a consumer willing to pay for a used car that could be either a lemon or a plum? To determine a consumer’s willingness to pay in a mixed market with both lemons and plums, we must answer three questions: 1How much is the consumer willing to pay for a plum? 2How much is the consumer willing to pay for a lemon? 3What is the chance that a used car purchased in the mixed market will be of low quality? Consumer expectations play a key role in determining the market outcome when there is imperfect information. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

7 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 7 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Uninformed Buyers and Knowledgeable Sellers  FIGURE 29.1 All Used Cars on the Market Are Lemons If buyers assume that there is a 50–50 chance of getting a lemon or a plum, they are willing to pay $3,000 for a used car. At this price, 20 plums are supplied (point a) along with 80 lemons (point b). This is not an equilibrium because consumers’ expectations of a 50–50 split are not realized. If consumers become pessimistic and assume that all cars on the market will be lemons, they are willing to pay $2,000 for a used car. At this price, only lemons will be supplied (point c). Consumer expectations are realized, so the equilibrium is shown by point c, with an equilibrium price of $2,000. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

8 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 8 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Equilibrium with All Low-Quality Goods THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

9 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 9 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Equilibrium with All Low-Quality Goods adverse-selection problem A situation in which the uninformed side of the market must choose from an undesirable or adverse selection of goods. The asymmetric information in the market generates a downward spiral of price and quality: The presence of low-quality goods on the market pulls down the price consumers are willing to pay. A decrease in price decreases the number of high-quality goods supplied, decreasing the average quality of goods on the market. The decrease in the average quality of goods on the market pulls down the price consumers are willing to pay again. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

10 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 10 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard A Thin Market: Equilibrium with Some High-Quality Goods thin market A market in which some high- quality goods are sold but fewer than would be sold in a market with perfect information. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

11 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 11 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard A Thin Market: Equilibrium with Some High-Quality Goods  FIGURE 29.2 The Market for High-Quality Cars (Plums) Is Thin If buyers are pessimistic and assume that only lemons will be sold, they are willing to pay $2,000 for a used car. At this price, 5 plums are supplied (point a), along with 45 lemons (point b). This is not an equilibrium because 10 percent of consumers get plums, contrary to their expectations. If consumers assume that there is a 25 percent chance of getting a plum, they are willing to pay $2,500 for a used car. At this price, 20 plums are supplied (point c), along with 60 lemons (point d). This is an equilibrium because 25 percent of consumers get plums, consistent with their expectations. Consumer expectations are realized, so the equilibrium is shown by points c and d. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

12 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 12 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard A Thin Market: Equilibrium with Some High-Quality Goods THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1

13 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 13 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard The lemons model makes two predictions about markets with asymmetric information. First, the presence of low-quality goods in a market will at least reduce the number of high-quality goods in the market and may even eliminate them. Second, buyers and sellers will respond to the lemons problem by investing in information and other means of distinguishing between low-quality and high-quality goods. THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.1 Evidence of the Lemons Problem

14 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 14 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Buyers Invest in Information RESPONDING TO THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.2 The more information a buyer has, the greater the chance of picking a plum from the cars in the mixed market. Consumer Reports publishes information on repair histories of different models and computes a “Trouble” index, scoring each model on a scale of 1 to 5. By consulting these information sources, a buyer improves the chances of getting a high-quality car. Another information source is Carfax.com, which provides information on individual cars, including their accident histories.

15 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 15 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Consumer Satisfaction Scores from ValueStar and eBay RESPONDING TO THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.2 How can a high-quality service provider distinguish itself from low- quality providers? ValueStar is a consumer guide and business directory that uses customer satisfaction surveys to determine how well a firm does relative to its competitors in providing quality service. Online consumers help each other by rating online sellers.

16 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 16 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Guarantees and Lemons Laws Sellers can identify a car as a plum in a sea of lemons by offering one of the following guarantees: Money-back guarantees. Warranties and repair guarantees. RESPONDING TO THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.2

17 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 17 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard THE RESALE VALUE OF A WEEK-OLD CAR APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #1: Why does a new car lose about 20 percent of its value in the first week? If you buy a new car for $20,000 today and then try to sell it a week later, you probably won’t get more than $16,000 for it. The car will lose about 20 percent of its value in the first week. Why does the typical new car lose so much of its value in the first week? A potential buyer of a week-old car might believe that a person who returns a car after only one week could have discovered it was a lemon and may be trying to get rid of it. Alternatively, the seller could have simply changed his or her mind about the car. The problem is that buyers don’t know why the car is being sold. As long as there is a chance the car is a lemon, they won’t be willing to pay the full as-new price for it. In general, buyers are willing to pay a lot less for a week-old car, and so the owners of high-quality, week-old cars are less likely to put them on the market. This downward spiral ultimately reduces the price of week-old cars by about 20 percent. A P P L I C A T I O N 1 APPLICATIONS OF THE LEMONS PROBLEM 29.3

18 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 18 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard REGULATION OF THE CALIFORNIA KIWIFRUIT MARKET APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #2: How can government solve the adverse-selection problem? Kiwifruit is subject to imperfect information because buyers cannot determine its sweetness—its quality level—by simple inspection. There is asymmetric information because producers know the maturity of the fruit, but fruit wholesalers and grocery stores, who buy fruit at the time of harvest, cannot determine whether a piece of fruit will ultimately be sweet or sour. Before 1987, kiwifruit from California suffered from the “lemons” problem. Maturity levels of the fruit varied across producers. On average, the sugar content at the time of harvest was below the industry standard, established by kiwifruit from New Zealand. In 1987, California producers implemented a federal marketing order to address the lemon–kiwi problem. The federal order specified a minimum maturity standard, and as the average quality of California fruit increased, so did the price. Within a few years, the gap between California and New Zealand prices had decreased significantly. A P P L I C A T I O N 2

19 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 19 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard BASEBALL PITCHERS ARE LIKE USED CARS APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #3: Does the market for baseball pitchers suffer from the adverse-selection problem? Professional baseball teams compete with each other for players. After six years of play in the major leagues, a player has the option of becoming a free agent. A player is likely to switch teams if the new team offers him a higher salary. One of the puzzling features of the free-agent market is that, on average, pitchers who switch teams spend 28 days per season on the disabled list, compared to only 5 days for pitchers who do not switch teams. This puzzling feature of the free-agent market for baseball players is explained by asymmetric information and adverse selection. Suppose the market price for pitchers is $1 million per year, and a pitcher who is currently with the Detroit Tigers is offered this salary by another team. If the Tigers think the pitcher is likely to spend a lot of time next season recovering from injuries, they won’t try to outbid the other team for the pitcher. If the Tigers think the pitcher will be injury-free and productive, he will be worth more than $1 million to the them, so they will outbid other teams. A P P L I C A T I O N 3

20 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 20 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard A person who buys an insurance policy knows much more about his or her risks and needs for insurance than the insurance company knows. Insurance companies must pick from an adverse or undesirable selection of customers. Health Insurance There is asymmetric information in the insurance market because potential buyers know from everyday experience and family histories what type of customer they are, either low cost or high cost. UNINFORMED SELLERS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE BUYERS: INSURANCE 29.4 What is the insurance company’s average cost per customer? To determine the average cost in a mixed market, we must answer three questions: What is the cost of providing medical care to a high-cost person? What is the cost of providing medical care to a low-cost person? What fraction of the customers are low-cost people?

21 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 21 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Equilibrium with All High-Cost Consumers  FIGURE 29.3 All Insurance Customers Are High-Cost People UNINFORMED SELLERS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE BUYERS: INSURANCE 29.4 If insurance companies assume there will be a 50–50 split between high-cost and low-cost customers, the average cost of insurance and its price is $4,000. At this price, there are 25 low-cost customers (point a) and 75 high-cost customers (point b). This is not an equilibrium, because 75 percent of insurance buyers are high-cost customers, contrary to the expectations of a 50–50 split. If insurance companies become pessimistic and assume that all buyers will be high-cost consumers, the average cost and price is $6,000. The insurance company’s expectations are realized, so the equilibrium is shown by point c.

22 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 22 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Equilibrium with All High-Cost Consumers UNINFORMED SELLERS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE BUYERS: INSURANCE 29.4

23 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 23 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Equilibrium with All High-Cost Consumers The domination of the insurance market by high-cost people is another example of the adverse-selection problem. The uninformed side of the market (sellers in this case) must choose from an undesirable or adverse selection of consumers. The asymmetric information in the market generates an upward spiral of price and average cost of service: The presence of high-cost consumers in the market pulls up the average cost of service, pulling up the price. An increase in price decreases the number of low-cost consumers who purchase insurance. The decrease in the number of low-cost consumers pulls up the average cost of insurance. In the extreme case, this upward spiral continues until all insurance customers are high-cost people. UNINFORMED SELLERS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE BUYERS: INSURANCE 29.4

24 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 24 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Responding to Adverse Selection in Insurance: Group Insurance experience rating A situation in which insurance companies charge different prices for medical insurance to different firms depending on the past medical bills of a firm’s employees. UNINFORMED SELLERS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE BUYERS: INSURANCE 29.4

25 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 25 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard The Uninsured One implication of asymmetric information in the insurance market is that many low-cost consumers who are not eligible for a group plan will not carry insurance. Other Types of Insurance The same logic of adverse selection applies to the markets for other types of insurance. Buyers know more than sellers about their risks, so there is adverse selection, with high-risk individuals more likely to buy insurance. Because the companies are unable to distinguish between high-risk and low-risk people with sufficient precision, the adverse- selection problem persists. UNINFORMED SELLERS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE BUYERS: INSURANCE 29.4

26 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 26 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard GENETIC TESTING BENEFITS LOW-RISK PEOPLE APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #4: Who benefits from better information about risks? Scientists recently identified one of the genes responsible for novelty-seeking behavior and discovered that about 15 percent of the people in Israel, Europe, and the United States carry the gene. If you managed a life insurance company, would you like to know whether each customer has the novelty-seeking gene? It would reduce the problem of asymmetric information and allow you to charge different prices for insurance. The same logic applies to genetic tests. An insurance company that has genetic information for its customers could distinguish between high-cost and low-cost customers and charge different prices to the two types. The development of genetic tests has led to fears that insurance companies will use the results of the tests to engage in genetic discrimination. Most states have laws that prevent insurance companies from using genetic information in determining prices and eligibility for insurance coverage. A P P L I C A T I O N 4

27 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 27 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard WHY IS CAR INSURANCE SO EXPENSIVE IN PHILADELPHIA? APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #5: How does adverse selection affect the price of insurance? The price of car insurance in Philadelphia is twice as high as in Pittsburgh, even though Pittsburgh has a much higher auto-theft rate. Why? In brief, uninsured drivers cause high prices, and high prices cause uninsured drivers. If two drivers, one insured and the other not, collide, the insurance company of the insured driver covers the cost of the collision, even if the insured driver isn’t at fault. In other words, the presence of uninsured drivers increases the cost to the insurance company. The company will pass on these costs to customers in the form of higher prices. Higher prices encourage more drivers to go without insurance, leading to higher costs, even higher prices, and even more uninsured drivers. For cities that get into this upward price spiral, insurance prices will be relatively high. This happens in San Francisco, with prices higher than nearby San Jose; in Miami, with prices higher than Jacksonville; and in St. Louis, with prices higher than Kansas City. A P P L I C A T I O N 5

28 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 28 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard moral hazard A situation in which one side of an economic relationship takes undesirable or costly actions that the other side of the relationship cannot observe. Insurance Companies and Moral Hazard Insurance companies use various measures to decrease the moral-hazard problem. Many insurance policies have a deductible—a dollar amount that a policy holder must pay before getting compensation from the insurance company. Deductibles reduce the moral-hazard problem because they shift to the policy holder part of the cost of a claim on the policy. INSURANCE AND MORAL HAZARD 29.5

29 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 29 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard Deposit Insurance for Savings and Loans When you deposit money in a Savings and Loan (S&L), the money doesn’t just sit in a vault. The S&L will invest the money, loaning it out and expecting to make a profit when loans are repaid with interest. Unfortunately, some loans are not repaid, and the S&L could lose money and be unable to return your money. To protect people, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures the first $100,000 of your deposit, so if the S&L goes bankrupt, you’ll still get your money back. The government enacted the federal deposit insurance law in 1933 in response to the bank failures of the Great Depression. INSURANCE AND MORAL HAZARD 29.5

30 Copyright © 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Prentice Hall. Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, Perez 6/e. 30 of 30 C H A P T E R 29 Imperfect Information: Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard adverse-selection problem asymmetric information experience rating mixed market moral hazard thin market KEY TERMS


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