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[Excerpt] This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking paper, informative and interesting. I learned a lot from reading this and have already passed it on to others.

In my comments, I would like to do four things: highlight the major points and the rationale for them, raise a few quibbles, put forth some additional issues, and propose a possible resolution of a dilemma raised in the paper.

But let us first try to be clear about what we are talking about. Professor Pestieau characterizes social insurance as being mandatory, universal, and redistributive. I would define it slightly differently: “Social insurance is a state-run or state-mandated system that is mandatory and universal.” Must it be redistributive? I would say that it may or may not be ex ante in an expected value sense. But of course, social insurance will surely be redistributive ex post once losses are incurred.


Required Publisher Statement
© Palgrave Macmillan. Final version published as: Fields, G. S. (1994). A discussion of social protection and private insurance. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, 19(2), 97-99. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation
Fields, G. S. (1994). A discussion of social protection and private insurance [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site: