IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Informal insurance in social networks

  • Bloch, Francis
  • Genicot, Garance
  • Ray, Debraj

This paper studies bilateral insurance schemes across networks of individuals. While transfers are based on social norms, individuals must have the incentive to comply. We investigate the structure of self-enforcing insurance networks. Network links play two distinct and possibly conflictual roles. They act as conduits for both transfers and information; affecting the scope for insurance and the severity of punishments upon noncompliance. Their interaction leads to a characterization of stable networks as suitably "sparse" networks. Thickly and thinly connected networks tend to be stable, whereas intermediate degrees of connectedness jeopardize stability. Finally, we discuss the effect of discounting on stability.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 143 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
Pages: 36-58

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:143:y:2008:i:1:p:36-58
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Kimball, Miles S, 1988. "Farmers' Cooperatives as Behavior Toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 224-32, March.
  2. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2006. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 869-902, October.
  3. Garance Genicot & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Group Formation in Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 87-113.
  4. Marcel Fafchamps & Flore Gubert, 2005. "The Formation of Risk Sharing Networks," Working Papers DT/2005/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  5. Yann Bramoullé & Rachel Kranon, 2005. "Risk-Sharing Networks," Cahiers de recherche 0526, CIRPEE.
  6. Freixas, Xavier & Parigi, Bruno & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Systemic Risk, Interbank Relations and Liquidity Provision by the Central Bank," CEPR Discussion Papers 2325, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Vega-Redondo, Fernando, 2006. "Building up social capital in a changing world," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2305-2338, November.
  8. Conley, T.G. & Udry, C.R., 2000. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," Papers 817, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  9. Rachel E. Kranton & Deborah F. Minehart, 2001. "A Theory of Buyer-Seller Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 485-508, June.
  10. De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2006. "Risk-sharing networks and insurance against illness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 337-356, December.
  11. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Winters, Paul C. & Murgai, Rinku, 2000. "Localized and Incomplete Mutual Insurance," Working Papers 12905, University of New England, School of Economics.
  12. Goyal, Sanjeev & Joshi, Sumit, 2003. "Networks of collaboration in oligopoly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-85, April.
  13. Lippert, Steffen & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2011. "Networks of relations and Word-of-Mouth Communication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 202-217, May.
  14. Farrell, Joseph & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1988. "Partnerships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(2), pages 279-97, May.
  15. Dutta, Bhaskar & Ray, Debraj, 1989. "A Concept of Egalitarianism under Participation Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 615-35, May.
  16. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
  17. Kocherlakota, Narayana R, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609, October.
  18. Leigh TESFATSION, 1995. "A Trade Network Game With Endogenous Partner Selection," Economic Report 36, Iowa State University Department of Economics.
  19. Richard A. Posner, 1979. "A Theory of Primitive Society with Special Reference to Law," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 7, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  20. Timothy Conley & Udry Christopher, 2001. "Social Learning Through Networks: The Adoption of New Agricultural Technologies in Ghana," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 668-673.
  21. Weisbuch, G. & Kirman, A. & Herreiner, D., 1998. "Market Organisation and Trading Relationships," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 98a32, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  22. Ping Wang & Alison Watts, 2006. "Formation of buyer-seller trade networks in a quality-differentiated product market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(3), pages 971-1004, August.
  23. Leigh Tesfatsion, 1998. "Gale-Shapley Matching in an Evolutionary Trade Network Game," Game Theory and Information 9805004, EconWPA, revised 26 Jul 1998.
  24. Kenneth M. Kletzer and Brian D. Wright., 1998. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C98-100, University of California at Berkeley.
  25. De Weerdt, Joachim, 2002. "Risk-Sharing and Endogenous Network Formation," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  26. Rachel E. Kranton & Deborah F. Minehart, 1999. "Competition for Goods in Buyer-Seller Networks," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1232, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  27. 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.
  28. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 1996. "Interbank Lending and Systemic Risk," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 733-62, November.
  29. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1992. "Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 147-74, October.
  30. Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2006. "Solidarity Norms and Institutions in Village Societies: Static and Dynamic Considerations," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  31. 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.
  32. Lippert, Steffen & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2004. "Networks of Relations," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 28, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  33. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:143:y:2008:i:1:p:36-58. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.