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

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  • Hongbin Cai

    ()
    (Department of Applied Economics, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University)

  • Yuyu Chen

    ()
    (Department of Applied Economics, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University)

  • Hanming Fang

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Li-An Zhou

    ()
    (Department of Applied Economics, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 09-034.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 24 Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:09-034

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Keywords: Microinsurance; Trust; Natural Field Experiment;

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  1. Harounan Kazianga & Christopher Udry, 2004. "Consumption Smoothing? Livestock, Insurance and Drought in Rural Burkina Faso," Working Papers 898, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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  7. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2008. "Patterns of Rainfall Insurance Participation in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 539-566, October.
  8. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-44, April.
  9. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  10. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2005. "Trusting the Stock Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5288, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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).
  12. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, December.
  13. Barry K. Goodwin & Monte L. Vandeveer & John L. Deal, 2004. "An Empirical Analysis of Acreage Effects of Participation in the Federal Crop Insurance Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1058-1077.
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