Skip to main content

Mengxi Zhang Publications

Publish Date
American Economic Review

We study a generalization of the classical monopoly insurance problem under adverse selection (see Stiglitz 1977) where we allow for a random distribution of losses, possibly correlated with the agent's risk parameter that is private information. Our model explains patterns of observed customer behavior and predicts insurance contracts most often observed in practice: these consist of menus of several deductible-premium pairs or menus of insurance with coverage limits–premium pairs. A main departure from the classical insurance literature is obtained here by endowing the agents with risk-averse preferences that can be represented by a dual utility functional (Yaari 1987).

Review of Economic Studies

We study auction design for bidders equipped with non-expected utility preferences that exhibit constant risk aversion (CRA). The CRA class is large and includes loss-averse, disappointment-averse, mean-dispersion, and Yaari's dual preferences as well as coherent and convex risk measures. Any preference in this class displays first-order risk aversion, contrasting the standard expected utility case which displays second-order risk aversion. The optimal mechanism offers “ full-insurance” in the sense that each agent’s utility is independent of other agents’ reports. The seller excludes less types than under risk neutrality and awards the object randomly to intermediate types. Subjecting intermediate types to a risky allocation while compensating them when losing allows the seller to collect larger payments from higher types. Relatively high types are willing to pay more, and their allocation is efficient.