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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Prof Jason Shachat

Shachat, J. & Westerling, A. (2006). Information aggregation in a catastrophe futures market. Managerial and Decision Economics 27(6): 477-495.

Author(s) from Durham


We experimentally examine a reinsurance market in which participants have differing information regarding the probability distribution over losses. The key question is whether the market equilibrium reflects traders maximizing value with respect to their different priors, or whether the equilibrium is one based on a common belief incorporating all participants' information. When assuming subjects are expected value maximizers, we reject both full information aggregation and no information aggregation equilibria. We discover, as in past individual choice insurance experiments, that buyers under-assess the probabilities of large loss states, or alternatively, subjects assign larger utility values to losses than to comparable gains. After accounting for these decision theoretic concerns, the non-aggregation of information hypothesis explains the data better than full information aggregation.