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The Two Margin Problem in Insurance Markets

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Document pages: 74 pages

Abstract: Insurance markets often feature consumer sorting along both an extensive margin (whether to buy) and an intensive margin (which plan to buy). We present a new graphical theoretical framework that extends a workhorse model to incorporate both selection margins simultaneously. A key insight from our framework is that policies aimed at addressing one margin of selection often involve an economically meaningful trade-off on the other margin in terms of prices, enrollment, and welfare. Using data from Massachusetts, we illustrate these trade-offs in an empirical sufficient statistics approach that is tightly linked to the graphical framework we develop.

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