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Consumer search behavior and willingness to pay for insurance under price dispersion

Malakhov, Sergey (2014): Consumer search behavior and willingness to pay for insurance under price dispersion.

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Abstract

When the increase in income reduces the time of search and increases prices of purchases, the increase in price can be presented as the increase in the willingness to pay for insurance. The optimal consumer decision represents the trade-off between the propensity to search for proficient insurance and marginal savings on insurance policy. Under price dispersion the indirect utility function takes the form of cubic parabola, where the saddle point represents the comprehensive insurance. The comparative static analysis of the saddle point of the utility function discovers the ambiguity of the departure from risk-neutrality. This ambiguity can produce the ordinary risk seeking behavior as well as mathematical catastrophes of Veblen-effect’s imprudence and over prudence of family altruism. The comeback to risk aversion is also ambiguous and it results either in increasing or in decreasing relative risk aversion. The paper argues that the decreasing risk aversion results in the optimum quantity of money.

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