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Group-based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania

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Author Info

  • Stefan Dercon
  • Tessa Bold
  • Joachim De Weerdt
  • Alula Pankhurst

Abstract

A funeral is a costly occasion. This paper studies indigenous insurance institutions developed to cope with the high costs of funerals, based on evidence from rural areas in Tanzania and Ethiopia. These institutions are based on well-defined rules and regulations, often offering premium-based insurance for funeral expenses. Increasingly, they are also offering other forms of insurance and credit to cope with hardship. The paper argues that the characteristics and inclusiveness of these institutions make them well-placed as models to broaden insurance provision and other developmental activities in these communities. The history of these institutions is characterised by a resistance to attempts of political capture, and helps to understand their apparent resistance to engage more broadly with NGOs and government agencies. As a result, any attempt to expand their activities will have to be done cautiously.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2004-27.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2004-27

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Keywords: Risk-Sharing; Insurance; Africa; Ethiopia; Tanzania;

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References

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  1. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
  2. Grimard, Franque, 1997. "Household consumption smoothing through ethnic ties: evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 391-422, August.
  3. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold & Joachim De Weerdt & Alula Pankhurst, 2004. "Extending Insurance?: Funeral Associations in Ethiopia and Tanzania," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 240, OECD Publishing.
  4. Stefan Dercon, 2000. "Income risk, coping strategies and safety nets," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Jonathan Conning & Michael Kevane, 2003. "Why isn't there more Financial Intermediation in Developing Countries?," Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers 214, Hunter College: Department of Economics.
  6. Mariam, Damen Haile, 2003. "Indigenous social insurance as an alternative financing mechanism for health care in Ethiopia (the case of eders)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1719-1726, April.
  7. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  8. Robert M. Townsend, . "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. Marcel Fafchamps & Susan Lund, 2000. "Risk-Sharing Networks in Rural Philippines," Economics Series Working Papers 10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 209-244.
  11. Besley, T., 1993. "Savings, Credit and Insurance," Papers 167, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  12. Skees, Jerry & Varangis, Panos & Larson, Donald & Siegel, Paul, 2002. "Can Financial Markets be Tapped to Help Poor People Cope with Weather Risks?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  13. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
  14. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
  15. Tewodaj Mogues, 2005. "Shocks, Livestock Asset Dynamics, and Social Capital in Ethiopia," Development and Comp Systems 0512006, EconWPA.
  16. De Weerdt, Joachim, 2002. "Risk-Sharing and Endogenous Network Formation," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  17. Coetzee, Gerhard K. & Cross, Catherine, 2002. "Group Approaches To Financial Service Provision In Rural South Africa," Working Papers 18042, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.
  18. Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
  19. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
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