Insuring Consumption Against Illness
AbstractOne of the most sizable and least predictable shocks to economic opportunities in developing countries is major illness, both in terms of medical care expenditures and lost income from reduced labor supply and productivity. As a result, families may not be able to smooth their consumption over periods of illness. In this paper, we investigate the extent to which families are able to insure consumption against major illness using a unique panel data set from Indonesia that combines excellent measures of health status with consumption information. We focus on the effect of large exogenous changes in physical functioning. We find that there are significant economic costs associated with these illnesses, albeit more from income loss than from medical expenditures. We also find a robust and striking rejection of full consumption insurance. Indeed, the deviation from full consumption smoothing is significant, particularly for illnesses that severely limit physical function; families are able to smooth less than 30 percent of the income loss from these illnesses. These estimates suggest large welfare gains from the introduction of formal disability insurance, and that the large public subsidies for medical care typical of most developing countries may improve welfare by providing consumption insurance.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6035.
Date of creation: May 1997
Date of revision:
Note: HC PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996.
"Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
- Attanasio, O. & Davis, S.J., 1996. "Relative wage movements and the distribution of consumption," Open Access publications from University College London http://discovery.ucl.ac.u, University College London.
- Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Attanasio, O. & Davis, S.J., 1994. "Relative wage movements and the distribution of consumption," Open Access publications from University College London http://discovery.ucl.ac.u, University College London.
- Stephen P. Zeldes, .
"Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation,"
Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers
16-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-46, April.
- Stephen Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 24-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Robert M. Townsend, .
"Risk and Insurance in Village India,"
University of Chicago - Population Research Center
91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nelson, J.A., 1993. "On Testing for Full Insurance Using Consumer Expenditures Survey Data," Papers 93-02, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
- Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Cash Welfare as a Consumption Smoothing Mechanism for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 5738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
- John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum & Timothy Waidmann, 1995. "Race and Education Differences in Disability Status and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 5159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sindelar, J. & Thomas, D., 1991. "Measurement of Child Health: Maternal Response Bias," Papers 633, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
- Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
- Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
- Schultz, T. Paul & Tansel, Aysit, 1997.
"Wage and labor supply effects of illness in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana: instrumental variable estimates for days disabled,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 251-286, August.
- Schultz, T-P, 1996. "Wage and Labor Supply effects of Illness in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana : Instrumental Variable Estimates for Days Disabled," Papers 757, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
- Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
- Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-94, March.
- Jonathan Morduch, 1995.
"Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1727, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Empirical Modeling of Household and Family Decisions," Papers 95-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Deaton, A., 1992. "Saving and Income Smoothing in Cote d'Ivoire," Papers 156, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- Dow, W & Gertly, P & Schoeni, R-F & Strauss, J & Thomas, D, 1997. "Health Care Prices, Health and Labor Outcomes : Experimental Evidence," Papers 97-01, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
- Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
- Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
- Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
- John Strauss & Paul J. Gertler & Omar Rahman & Kristin Fox, 1993. "Gender and Life-Cycle Differentials in the Patterns and Determinants of Adult Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 791-837.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.