Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies, Harvard University
April 14, 2017
2:15pm - 4:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Busch Hall
note: Those planning to attend events in this series should read the
paper that will be posted on the CES website before the seminar.**
The literature on the welfare state assumes, often implicitly but almost universally, that social insurance can or will be provided through the state. This assumption is based on economic models of insurance that show the propensity for market failure when information is limited and privately held. With the data revolution this is no longer a satisfactory approach, and this paper asks what happens when information rises and can be credibly shared with insures. Our model shows that Big Data alters the politics of social insurance by increasing polarization over the level and cost-sharing of public provision, and sometimes by creating majorities for a shift towards segmented and inegalitarian private markets (a shift that is conditioned by government partisanship). We offer a preliminary test of the model examining the relationship between information and life insurance market penetration and between information and polarization.