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An Experimental Test of Risk-Sharing Arrangements

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Abstract

We investigate risk-sharing without commitment by designing an experiment to match a simple model of voluntary insurance between two agents when aggregate income is constant. Participants are matched in pairs. Each period, they receive their income with or without a random component h that one person or the other receives; after observing own and counterpart income, each person in a pair can decide to make a transfer to the other person. It is common information that there is a given probability that all pairs will be dissolved at the end of each period, with participants re-matched. At the end of the experiment, one period is randomly drawn to count for cash payment. Participants all face the same variance in their income, but do not necessarily have the same mean income. This setting allows us to experimentally test different implications of risk-sharing without commitment. In particular, we find strong evidence of risk-sharing and reciprocal behavior, where transfers are higher with a higher continuation probability and with a higher degree of risk aversion. However, transfers are lower with inequality, in contrast with existing models of both risk-sharing and social preferences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~04-04-02.

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Date of creation: 02 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~04-04-02

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Postal: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Keywords: experiments; gift exchange; informal insurance; risk-sharing; social preferences.;

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References

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  1. Cason, Timothy N., 1995. "Cheap talk price signaling in laboratory markets," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 183-204, June.
  2. John Bone & John Hey & John Suckling, 2004. "A Simple Risk-Sharing Experiment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 23-38, January.
  3. Kenneth M. Kletzer and Brian D. Wright., 1998. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C98-100, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 1998. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," JCPR Working Papers 41, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  6. Townsend, R.M., 1991. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-3, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  7. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-96, March.
  8. Garance Genicot & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Group Formation in Risk--Sharing Arrangements," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 87-113, January.
  9. Dubois, Pierre & Ligon, Ethan A., 2011. "Incentives and nutrition for rotten kids: intrahousehold food allocation in the Philippines," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt0c6758hs, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  10. Abigail Barr & Garance Genicot, 2007. "Risk Sharing, Commitment and Information: An experimental analysis," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-17, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  11. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "In Sickness and in Health: Risk Sharing within Households in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 688-727, August.
  12. Kocherlakota, Narayana R, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609, October.
  13. Reinhard Selten & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Klaus Abbink, 1999. "Money Does Not Induce Risk Neutral Behavior, but Binary Lotteries Do even Worse," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 213-252, June.
  14. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  16. Gary Charness & Nuno Garoupa, 2000. "Reputation, Honesty, and Efficiency with Insider Information: an Experiment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 425-451, 06.
  17. repec:cdl:agrebk:2221195 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
  19. Udry, Christopher, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Robinson, Jonathan, 2011. "Limited insurance within the household: evidence from a field experiment in Kenya," MPRA Paper 32667, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Lucy F. Ackert & Ann B. Gillette & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2009. "Risk Tolerance, Self-Interest, and Social Preferences," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2009-04, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Feb 2011.
  3. Charness, Gary & Grieco, Daniela, 2013. "Individual Creativity, Ex-ante Goals and Financial Incentives," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4mr6p1d5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Fikret Adaman & Oya Pinar Ardic & Didem Tuzemen, 2006. "Network Effects in Risk Sharing and Credit Market Access: Evidence from Istanbul," Working Papers 2006/17, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  5. Abigail Barr & Garance Genicot, 2007. "Risk Sharing, Commitment and Information: An experimental analysis," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Nadja Trhal & Ralf Radermacher, 2006. "Bad luck vs. self-inflicted neediness – An experimental investigation of gift giving in a solidarity game," Working Paper Series in Economics 28, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 07 Mar 2008.
  7. Ananish Chaudhuri & Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2006. "An Experimental Analysis of Group Size and Risk Sharing," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 02/06, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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