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Background Risk of Food Insecurity and Insurance Behaviour: Evidence from the West Bank

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  • Elisa Cavatorta

    ()
    (Centre for Development, Environment and Policy, SOAS, University of London, UK)

  • Luca Pieroni

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Perugia, Italy)

Abstract

This paper explores behavioural changes resulting from the presence of a background risk. Due to markets incompleteness, not all risks are insurable. The literature suggests that, according to the structure of preferences, agents bearing a background uninsurable risk are less willing to bear other insurable risks and increase their demand for insurance. The empirical evidence of this effect is limited and, despite the relevance of this question, unexplored in developing countries. This paper fills this gap. It explores the effect of a background risk on the decision to buy health insurance using household data from the Palestinian Territories. We consider the risk of food insecurity as a background uninsurable risk. Using a bivariate probit model, we find that the propensity to buy health insurance is positively affected by the presence of a background risk of food insecurity. When allowing the background risk to vary in intensity, we find that the propensity to insure is higher as the background risk becomes more intense. These results are robust to alternative indicators of background risk. The study shows that, in presence of background risks, there might be incentive changes towards the desirability of insurance that have implications for policy design.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 06_13.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:06_13

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Keywords: Background Risk; Food Insecurity; Health Insurance; Bivariate Probit;

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  1. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
  2. Abu-Zaineh, Mohammad & Mataria, Awad & Luchini, Stéphane & Moatti, Jean-Paul, 2008. "Equity in health care financing in Palestine: The value-added of the disaggregate approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2308-2320, June.
  3. Miles S. Kimball, 1991. "Standard Risk Aversion," NBER Technical Working Papers 0099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gollier, Christian & Pratt, John W, 1996. "Risk Vulnerability and the Tempering Effect of Background Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1109-23, September.
  5. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe & Schupp Jürgen & Wagner Gert, 2009. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants and Behavioral Consequences," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
  7. Pfeifer, Christian, 2008. "Risk Aversion and Sorting into Public Sector Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 3503, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 1998. "Background Uuncertainty and the Demand for Insurance against Insurable Risks," CSEF Working Papers 02, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  10. EECKHOUDT, Louis & Christian GOLLIER & Harris SCHLESINGER, 1994. "Changes in Background Risk and Risk Taking Behavior," Working Papers 005, Risk and Insurance Archive.
  11. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2001. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 2728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
  13. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1994. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
  15. William N. Evans & W. Kip Viscusi, 1993. "Income Effects and the Value of Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 497-518.
  16. William H. Greene, 1998. "Gender Economics Courses in Liberal Arts Colleges: Further Results," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 291-300, January.
  17. Tomas J. Philipson & William H. Dow & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Longevity Complementarities under Competing Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1358-1371, December.
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Cited by:
  1. d'Agostino, Giorgio & Pieroni, Luca & Scarlato, Margherita, 2013. "Social Protection and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Evaluation of Cash Transfer Programmes," MPRA Paper 49536, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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