IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Consumption smoothing and the welfare consequences of social insurance in developing economies

  • Chetty, Raj
  • Looney, Adam

Studies of risk in developing economies have focused on consumption fluctuations as a measure of the value of insurance. A common view in the literature is that the welfare costs of risk and benefits of social insurance are small if income shocks do not cause large consumption fluctuations. We present a simple model showing that this conclusion is incorrect if the consumption path is smooth because individuals are highly risk averse. Empirical studies find that many households in developing countries rely on inefficient methods to smooth consumption, suggesting that they are indeed quite risk averse. Hence, social safety nets may be valuable in low-income economies even when consumption is not very sensitive to shocks.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4KNKBNS-1/2/a2b1fd9e61267eff5181152356b0a97d
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 Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2006)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 2351-2356

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:90:y:2006:i:12:p:2351-2356
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney, 2005. "Income Risk and the Benefits of Social Insurance: Evidence from Indonesia and the United States," NBER Working Papers 11708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Do Microfinance Programs Help Families Insure Consumption Against Illness?," Development and Comp Systems 0303004, EconWPA.
  3. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 2002. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 51-70, March.
  4. Thomas, D. & Beegle, K. & Frankenberg, E., 2000. "Labor Market Transitions of Men and Women During an Economic Crisis: Evidence from Indonesia," Papers 00-11, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  5. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  6. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "Between the State and the Market: Can Informal Insurance Patch the Safety Net?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 187-207, August.
  7. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-44, April.
  8. Anjini Kochar, 1999. "Smoothing Consumption by Smoothing Income: Hours-of-Work Responses to Idiosyncratic Agricultural Shocks in Rural India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 50-61, February.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Binswanger, Hans P, 1993. "Wealth, Weather Risk and the Composition and Profitability of Agricultural Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 56-78, January.
  10. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
  11. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1727, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Frankenberg, E. & Thomas, D. & Beegle, K., 1999. "The Real Costs of Indonesia's Economic Crisis: Preliminary Findings from the Indonesia Family Life Surveys," Papers 99-04, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  13. Martin Ravallion & Shubham Chaudhuri, 1997. "Risk and Insurance in Village India: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(1), pages 171-184, January.
  14. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  15. Stefan Dercon, 2000. "Income risk, coping strategies and safety nets," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
  17. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-26, August.
  18. Lisa A. Cameron & Christopher Worswick, 2003. "The Labor Market as a Smoothing Device: Labor Supply Responses to Crop Loss," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 327-341, 05.
  19. Raj Chetty, 2005. "A General Formula for the Optimal Level of Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Thomas, Duncan & Beegle, Kathleen & Frankenberg, Elizabeth & Sikoki, Bondan & Strauss, John & Teruel, Graciela, 2004. "Education in a crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-85, June.
  21. Robert Holzmann & Steen Jorgensen, 2000. "Social risk management : a new conceptual framework for social protection and beyond," Social Protection Discussion Papers 21314, The World Bank.
  22. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Famines and economics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1693, The World Bank.
  23. Edward Miguel, 2005. "Poverty and Witch Killing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1153-1172.
  24. Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith & Duncan Thomas, 2003. "Economic Shocks, Wealth, and Welfare," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
  25. Deaton, A., 1992. "Saving and Income Smoothing in Cote d'Ivoire," Papers 156, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  26. 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.
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:pubeco:v:90:y:2006:i:12:p:2351-2356. 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.