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Patternsof rainfall insurance participation in rural India

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  • Gine, Xavier
  • Townsend, Robert
  • Vickery, James

Abstract

This paper describes the contract design and institutional features of an innovative rainfall insurance policy offered to smallholder farmers in rural India, and presents preliminary evidence on the determinants of insurance participation. Insurance takeup is found to be decreasing in basis risk between insurance payouts and income fluctuations, increasing in household wealth and decreasing in the extent to which credit constraints bind. These results match with predictions of a simple neoclassical model appended with borrowing constraints. Other patterns are less consistent with the"benchmark"model; namely, participation in village networks and measures of familiarity with the insurance vendor are strongly correlated with insurance takeup decisions, and risk-averse households are found to be less, not more, likely to purchase insurance. We suggest that these results reflect household uncertainty about the product itself, given their limited experience with it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4408.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4408

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Keywords: ; Access to Finance; Banks&Banking Reform; Debt Markets; Insurance&Risk Mitigation;

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References

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  1. Robert M. Townsend, . "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. John Cawley & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," NBER Working Papers 5669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1727, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  5. Gadgil, Sulochana & Seshagiri Rao, P. R. & Narahari Rao, K., 2002. "Use of climate information for farm-level decision making: rainfed groundnut in southern India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 431-457, December.
  6. 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.
  7. Lim, Y. & Townsend, R.M., 1997. "General Equilibrium Models of Financial Systems: Theory and Measurement in Village Economies," Papers 9716, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  8. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, 06.
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