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Embracing RiskThe Changing Culture of Insurance and Responsibility$
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Tom Baker and Jonathan Simon

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226035185

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226035178.001.0001

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Beyond Moral Hazard: Insurance as Moral Opportunity

Beyond Moral Hazard: Insurance as Moral Opportunity

(p.52) Three Beyond Moral Hazard: Insurance as Moral Opportunity
Embracing Risk

Deborah Stone

University of Chicago Press

This chapter introduces the important new concept of the “moral opportunity” of insurance. This term is coined to identify an expansionary social dynamic that counters the individual-based forces of moral hazard and adverse selection that traditionally concern insurance and economic analysts. The moral opportunity of insurance is a social dynamic that tends to increase what gets perceived as insurable and deserving of collective support. The chapter identifies six distinct mechanisms underlying this expansionary dynamic of insurance. It argues that the dynamic is appropriately thought of as moral opportunity, because it is powered by beliefs that insurance is a way to help others and to be helped. The discussion of the moral opportunity of insurance reveals the influence that insurance institutions and technologies have on how we imagine individual and social responsibility.

Keywords:   moral opportunity, insurance, social dynamic, insurance institutions, technologies, social responsibility

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