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Microinsurance, Trust and Economic Development: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment

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  • Hongbin Cai
  • Yuyu Chen
  • Hanming Fang
  • Li-An Zhou

Abstract

We report results from a large randomized natural field experiment conducted in southwestern China in the context of insurance for sows. Our study sheds light on two important questions about microinsurance. First, how does access to formal insurance affect farmers' production decisions? Second, what explains the low takeup rate of formal insurance, despite substantial premium subsidy from the government? We find that providing access to formal insurance significantly increases farmers' tendency to raise sows. We argue that this finding also suggests that farmers are not previously insured efficiently through informal mechanisms. We also provide several pieces of evidence suggesting that trust, or lack thereof, for government-sponsored insurance products is a significant barrier for farmers' willingness to participate in the insurance program.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15396.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15396

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  1. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  2. Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," NBER Technical Working Papers 0333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2012. "Team Incentives: Evidence from a Firm Level Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 8776, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
  9. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2005. "Trusting the Stock Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5288, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
  11. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2007. "Patterns of rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Staff Reports 302, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. O'Donoghue, Erik J. & Key, Nigel D. & Roberts, Michael J., 2005. "Does risk matter for farm businesses? The effect of crop insurance on production and diversification," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19397, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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