Genetic testing and repulsion from chance
2002/10: Michael Hoel, Tore Nilssen & Jon Vislie, Department of Economics Tor Iversen, Center for Health Administration (PDF 93 kb)
A central theme in the international debate on genetic testing concerns the extent to which insurance companies should be allowed to use genetic information in their design of insurance contracts. This issue is analysed within a model with the following important feature: A person's well-being depends on the perceived probability of becoming ill in the future in a way that varies among individuals.
The authors show that both tested high-risks and untested individuals are equally well off whether or not test results can be used by insurers. Individuals who test for being low-risks, on the other hand, are made worse off by not being able to verify this to insurers. This implies that verifiability dominates non-verifiability in an ex-ante sense.