Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Market design for the provision of social insurance: the case of disability and survivors insurance in Chile


As part of the pension reform recently approved in Chile, the government introduced a centralized auction mechanism to provide the Disability and Survivors (D&S) Insurance that covers recent contributors among the more than eight million participants in the mandatory private pension system. This paper is intended as a case study presenting the main distortions found in the decentralized operation of the system that led to this reform and the challenges faced when designing a competitive auction mechanism to be implemented jointly by the Pension Fund Managers (AFP). When each AFP independently hired this insurance with an insurance company, the process was not competitive: colligated companies ended up providing the service and distortions affected competition in the market through incentives to cream-skim members, efforts to block disability claims, lack of price transparency, and the insurance contract acting as a barrier to entry. Cross-subsidies, inefficient risk pooling, and regulatory arbitrage were also present. The Chilean experience is relevant since other privatized systems with decentralized provision of this insurance may show similar problems as they mature. A centralized auction mechanism solves these market failures, but also gives raise to new challenges, such as how to design a competitive auction that attracts participation and deters collusion. Design features that were incorporated into the regulation to tackle these issues are presented here.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Peter Diamond (1992) Organizing the health insurance market. Econometrica, 60(6): 12331254.

Estelle James , Edwards Cox , Alejandra and Augusto Iglesias (2009) The impact of private participation and countervailing information on disability costs: evidence from Chile. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, forthcoming.

Paul Klemperer (2002) What really matters in auction design. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(1): 169189.

Laurence Kotlikoff (1987) Justifying public provision of social security. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 6(4): 674689.

Barry Nalebuff (2004) Bundling as an entry barrier. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119(1): 159187.

Alvin Roth (2008) What have we learned from market design? The Economic Journal, 118(March): 285310.

Steven Salop and Stiglitz Joseph (1977) Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion. The Review of Economic Studies, 44(3): 493510.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Pension Economics & Finance
  • ISSN: 1474-7472
  • EISSN: 1475-3022
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-pension-economics-and-finance
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 98 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.