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Patterns of Rainfall Insurance Participation in Rural India

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  • Xavier Giné
  • Robert Townsend
  • James Vickery

Abstract

Take-up of an innovative rainfall insurance policy offered to smallholder farmers in rural India decreases with basis risk between insurance payouts and income fluctuations, increases with household wealth, and decreases with binding credit constraints. These results are consistent with the predictions of a simple neoclassical model with borrowing constraints. Other patterns are less consistent with the benchmark model. For example, participation in village networks and measures of familiarity with the insurance vendor are strongly correlated with insurance take-up decisions, and risk-averse households are less, not more, likely to purchase insurance. These results may reflect household uncertainty about the product, given their limited experience with it. Copyright The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (October)
Pages: 539-566

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:539-566

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  1. John Cawley & Tomas Philipson, 1997. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade inInsurance," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 132, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-Andre Chiappori, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," 2004 Meeting Papers 316, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  4. Morduch, J., 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Papers 512, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  5. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Youngjae Lim & Robert Townsend, 1998. "General Equilibrium Models of Financial Systems: Theory and Measurement in Village Economies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 59-118, January.
  7. Gadgil, Sulochana & Seshagiri Rao, P. R. & Narahari Rao, K., 2002. "Use of climate information for farm-level decision making: rainfed groundnut in southern India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 431-457, December.
  8. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
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