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Selling Formal Insurance to the Informally Insured

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  • A. Mushfiq Mobarak

    ()

  • Mark Rosenzweig

Abstract

Unpredictable rainfall is an important risk for agricultural activity, and farmers in developing countries often receive incomplete insurance from informal risk-sharing networks. The demand for, and effects of, offering formal index-based rainfall insurance is studied through a randomized experiment in an environment where the informal risk sharing network can be readily identified and richly characterized: sub-castes in rural India. A model allowing for both idiosyncratic and aggregate risk shows that informal networks lower the demand for formal insurance only if the network indemnifies against aggregate risk, but not if its primary role is to insure against farmer-specific losses. When formal insurance carries basis risk (mismatches between payouts and actual losses due to the remote location of the rainfall gauge), informal risk sharing that covers idiosyncratic losses enhance the benefits of index insurance. Formal index insurance enables households to take more risk even in the presence of informal insurance. [BREAD Working Paper No. 322]. URL:[http://ipl.econ.duke.edu/bread/papers/working/322.pdf].

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:4777.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:4777

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Keywords: Formal Insurance; Informally; rural India; farmer-specific losses; rainfall gauges; households; agriculture; livelihoods; sources; weather-related; production risks; Indian workforce; poor; rural population; credit; insurance markets; risk; researchers; agricultural technology; increase productivity; caste-level linear variables; village; caste; Idiosyncratic;

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  1. Petia Topalova & Shawn Cole & Xavier Gene & Jeremy Tobacman & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2011. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," Working Papers id:4293, eSocialSciences.
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  3. 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.
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  5. World Bank, 2005. "Managing Agricultural Production Risk : Innovations in Developing Countries," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8797, The World Bank.
  6. Shiv Saini & Maurizio Mazzocco, 2010. "Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences," 2010 Meeting Papers 237, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang & Li-An Zhou, 2009. "Microinsurance, Trust and Economic Development: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  9. Kaivan Munshi, 2011. "Strength in Numbers: Networks as a Solution to Occupational Traps," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 1069-1101.
  10. Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2007. "Statistical analysis of rainfall insurance payouts in southern India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4426, The World Bank.
  11. Daniel J. Clarke, 2011. "A Theory of Rational Demand for Index Insurance," Economics Series Working Papers 572, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Gine, Xavier & Yang, Dean, 2007. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption : field experimental evidence from Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4425, The World Bank.
  13. Barry J. Barnett & Olivier Mahul, 2007. "Weather Index Insurance for Agriculture and Rural Areas in Lower-Income Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1241-1247.
  14. Maurizio Mazzocco & Shiv Saini, 2012. "Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 428-68, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Baez, Javier E. & Kronick, Dorothy & Mason, Andrew D., 2013. "Rural households in a changing climate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6326, The World Bank.
  2. Michael Kremer & Jean Lee & Jonathan Robinson & Olga Rostapshova, 2013. "Behavioral Biases and Firm Behavior: Evidence from Kenyan Retail Shops," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 362-68, May.
  3. de Janvry, A. & Dequiedt, V. & Sadoulet, E., 2014. "The demand for insurance against common shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 227-238.
  4. Cho, Yoonyoung & Kalomba, Davie & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Orozco, Victor, 2013. "Gender differences in the effects of vocational training : constraints on women and drop-out behavior," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6545, The World Bank.
  5. Janzen, Sarah A. & Carter, Michael R., 2013. "The Impact of Microinsurance on Consumption Smoothing and Asset Protection: Evidence from a Drought in Kenya," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151141, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Matsuda, Ayako & Kurosaki, Takashi & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 2013. "Rainfall and Temperature Index Insurance in India: Project Documentation," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 34, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  7. Dercon, Stefan & Hill, Ruth Vargas & Clarke, Daniel & Outes-Leon, Ingo & Seyoum Taffesse, Alemayehu, 2014. "Offering rainfall insurance to informal insurance groups: Evidence from a field experiment in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 132-143.
  8. Felipe Kast & Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "Saving More to Borrow Less: Experimental Evidence from Access to Formal Savings Accounts in Chile," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2014.
  9. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00796528 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Clarke, Danielle & Das, Narayan C. & de Nicola, Francesca & Hill, Ruth Vargas & Kumar, Neha & Mehta, Parendi, 2012. "The value of customized insurance for farmers in rural Bangladesh:," IFPRI discussion papers 1202, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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