IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ecj/econjl/v119y2009i537p796-825.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Informal Risk Sharing in an Infinite-Horizon Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Gary Charness
  • Garance Genicot

Abstract

Our laboratory study of risk sharing without commitment captures the main features of a simple model of voluntary insurance. Participants are paired in matches with stochastic endings. Each period they receive fixed endowments and one of the pair (randomly-drawn) also receives an additional amount; they can then make voluntary transfers to each other. While smoothing consumption is attractive, only self-enforcing risk sharing is possible. We find evidence supporting the theory: transfers provide insurance to individuals, a higher match continuation probability raises transfers and more risk-averse individuals make larger transfers. More surprisingly, transfers decrease with ex ante inequality, potentially reflecting considerations of identity. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & Garance Genicot, 2009. "Informal Risk Sharing in an Infinite-Horizon Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 796-825, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:537:p:796-825
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1997. "Informal Insurance Arrangements in Village Economies," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 97/08, Department of Economics, Keele University, revised Oct 2000.
    3. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    5. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    6. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "In Sickness and in Health: Risk Sharing within Households in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 688-727, August.
    7. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
    8. Reinhard Selten & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Klaus Abbink, 1999. "Money Does Not Induce Risk Neutral Behavior, but Binary Lotteries Do even Worse," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 213-252, June.
    9. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 209-244.
    10. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
    11. Gary Charness & Nuno Garoupa, 2000. "Reputation, Honesty, and Efficiency with Insider Information: an Experiment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 425-451, June.
    12. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
    13. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2001. "Imperfect Commitment, Altruism, And The Family: Evidence From Transfer Behavior In Low-Income Rural Areas," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 389-407, August.
    14. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    15. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    16. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "Risk averse behavior in generalized matching pennies games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, October.
    17. Grimard, Franque, 1997. "Household consumption smoothing through ethnic ties: evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 391-422, August.
    18. Brian D. Wright & Kenneth M. Kletzer, 2000. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 621-639, June.
    19. Cason, Timothy N., 1995. "Cheap talk price signaling in laboratory markets," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 183-204, June.
    20. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 2002. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 51-70, March.
    21. Kimball, Miles S, 1988. "Farmers' Cooperatives as Behavior Toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 224-232, March.
    22. Christopher Udry, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526.
    23. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
    24. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
    25. John Bone & John Hey & John Suckling, 2004. "A Simple Risk-Sharing Experiment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 23-38, January.
    26. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    27. Dubois, Pierre & Ligon, Ethan, 2011. "Incentives and nutrition for rotten kids: intrahousehold food allocation in the Philippines," CUDARE Working Papers 120421, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    28. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609.
    29. Masaki Aoyagi & Guillaume R. Frechette, 2004. "Collusion in Repeated Games with Imperfect Public Monitoring," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000127, UCLA Department of Economics.
    30. Duffy, John & Ochs, Jack, 2009. "Cooperative behavior and the frequency of social interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 785-812, July.
    31. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
    32. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-196, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Garance Genicot & Gary Charness, 2004. "An Experimental Test of Risk-Sharing Arrangements," 2004 Meeting Papers 807, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Blumenstock, Joshua E. & Eagle, Nathan & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2016. "Airtime transfers and mobile communications: Evidence in the aftermath of natural disasters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 157-181.
    3. Tessa Bold & Stefan Dercon, 2009. "Contract Design in Insurance Groups," CSAE Working Paper Series 2009-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Garance Genicot, Georgetown University and Debraj Ray, New York University and Instituto de An´alisis Econ´omico (CSIC), 2004. "Informal Insurance, Enforcement Constraints, and Group Formation," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    5. Tessa Bold, 2009. "Implications of Endogenous Group Formation for Efficient Risk‐Sharing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 562-591, March.
    6. Dubois, Pierre, 2002. "Consommation, partage de risque et assurance informelle : développements théoriques et tests empiriques récents," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 78(1), pages 115-149, Mars.
    7. Kloosterman, Andrew, 2015. "Public information in Markov games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 28-48.
    8. Conning, Jonathan & Udry, Christopher, 2007. "Rural Financial Markets in Developing Countries," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: Robert Evenson & Prabhu Pingali (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 56, pages 2857-2908, Elsevier.
    9. Jonathan Robinson, 2012. "Limited Insurance within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 140-164, October.
    10. Murgai, Rinku & Winters, Paul & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Janvry, Alain de, 2002. "Localized and incomplete mutual insurance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 245-274, April.
    11. Islam, Asad & Nguyen, Chau, 2018. "Do networks matter after a natural disaster? A study of resource sharing within an informal network after Cyclone Aila," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 249-268.
    12. Masahiro Shoji, 2018. "Incentive for risk sharing and trust formation: experimental and survey evidence from Bangladesh," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 1062-1083.
    13. Juan M. Gallego & Mariapia Mendola, 2013. "Labour Migration and Social Networks Participation in Southern Mozambique," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(320), pages 721-759, October.
    14. Gaurav, Sarthak, 2015. "Are Rainfed Agricultural Households Insured? Evidence from Five Villages in Vidarbha, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 719-736.
    15. Pierre Dubois & Bruno Jullien & Thierry Magnac, 2008. "Formal and Informal Risk Sharing in LDCs: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(4), pages 679-725, July.
    16. Takasaki, Yoshito, 2017. "Post-disaster Informal Risk Sharing Against Illness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 64-74.
    17. Stephen Leider & Markus M. Möbius & Tanya Rosenblat & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1815-1851.
    18. Markus Goldstein & Elisabeth Sadoulet & Alain de Janvry, 2002. "Is a Friend in Need a Friend Indeed? Inclusion and Exclusion in Mutual Insurance Networks in Southern Ghana," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 32, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    19. Aida, Takeshi, 2015. "Spatial vs. Social Network Effects in Risk Sharing," Working Papers 89, JICA Research Institute.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:537:p:796-825. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing or Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.