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Assessing the Impact of Public Transfers on Private Risk Sharing Arrangements. Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Mexico

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Author Info

  • Marina Pavan

    (Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

  • Aldo Colussi

    (University of Western Ontario, USA)

Abstract

We adopt a structural approach to studying the effects of public transfers on consumption smoothing, risk sharing and welfare in small village economies. We calibrate the key parameters of a dynamic limited commitment model using data gathered as part of the Mexican Progresa program, and take advantage of the randomized experimental design of the data to validate the model using the treatment sample. The limited commitment model enriched to allow for unobserved heterogeneity in preferences can reasonably well explain consumption dynamics and cross-sectional distributions. The calibrated model correctly predicts the increase in consumption smoothing of transfers’ recipients, and the decrease in risk sharing between beneficiaries and non beneficiaries of the program. Progresa transfers are found to crowd-out between 3% and 10% of the pre-existing private transfers, but the overall direct effect of the subsidy on consumption is welfare improving for all households. Last, we use our structural model to evaluate a counterfactual, fully funded, insurance scheme.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp200807.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200807.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 27 Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200807

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Keywords: Risk Sharing; Limited Commitment; Crowding-out; Transfers Programsd;

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  1. 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.
  2. Robert M. Townsend, . "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  3. Cox, Donald & Hansen, Bruce E. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 2004. "How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2193-2219, August.
  4. Masao Ogaki & Qiang Zhang, 1998. "Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion and Tests of Risk Sharing," Working Papers 98-02, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-53, July.
  6. Albarran, Pedro & Attanasio, Orazio P., 2002. "Do Public Transfers Crowd Out Private Transfers? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Mexico," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  8. Maurizio Mazzocco & Shiv Saini, 2012. "Testing Efficient Risk Sharing with Heterogeneous Risk Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 428-68, February.
  9. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "Assessing the Impact of a School Subsidy Program in Mexico: Using a Social Experiment to Validate a Dynamic Behavioral Model of Child Schooling and Fertility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1384-1417, December.
  10. Angelucci, Manuela & De Giorgi, Giacomo, 2006. "Indirect Effects of an Aid Program: The Case of Progresa and Consumption," IZA Discussion Papers 1955, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2007. "Heterogeneity, Risk Sharing and the Welfare Costs of Risk," 2007 Meeting Papers 926, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Pedro Albarran & Orazio P. Attanasio, 2003. "Limited Commitment and Crowding out of Private Transfers: Evidence from a Randomised Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C77-C85, March.
  13. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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Cited by:
  1. Florian Klohn & Christoph Strupat, 2013. "Crowding out of Solidarity? – Public Health Insurance versus Informal Transfer Networks in Ghana," Ruhr Economic Papers 0432, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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