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Determinants of life insurance consumption across countries

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  • Beck, Thorsten
  • Webb, Ian

Abstract

The importance of life insurance companies as part of the financial sector has significantly increased over the past decades, both as provider of important financial services to consumers and as a major investor in the capital market. However, the authors still observe a large variance in life insurance consumption across countries, which raises the question of its determinants. The authors use a greatly expanded data set on life insurance consumption to examine the determinants of the demand and supply of life insurance products across countries and over time. Using a cross-sectional sample of 63 countries averaged over 1980-96, the authors find that educational attainment, banking sector development, and inflation are the most robust predictors of life insurance consumption, while income is only a weak predictor. The results on educational attainment and inflation are confirmed in a panel of 23 countries over the period 1960-96. The results strengthen the case for promoting price stability, financial sector reform, and an efficient education system if life insurance and its many benefits are to be fully realized in an economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2792.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2792

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Keywords: Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Non Bank Financial Institutions; Health Economics&Finance; Insurance&Risk Mitigation; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Economics&Finance; Insurance&Risk Mitigation; Environmental Economics&Policies; Non Bank Financial Institutions; Contractual Savings;

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  1. Lewis, Frank D, 1989. "Dependents and the Demand for Life Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 452-67, June.
  2. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
  3. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  4. Boyd, John H. & Levine, Ross & Smith, Bruce D., 2001. "The impact of inflation on financial sector performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 221-248, April.
  5. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Beck, T.H.L. & Demirgüç-Kunt, A. & Levine, R., 2000. "A new database on financial development and structure," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125518, Tilburg University.
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