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Group-based funeral insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania

  • Dercon, Stefan
  • De Weerdt, Joachim
  • Bold, Tessa
  • Pankhurst, Alula

A funeral is a costly occasion. This paper studies indigenous insurance institutions developed to cope with the high costs of funerals, based on evidence from rural areas in Tanzania and Ethiopia. These institutions are based on well-defined rules and regulations, often offering premium-based insurance for funeral expenses. Increasingly, they are also offering other forms of insurance and credit to cope with hardship. The paper argues that the characteristics and inclusiveness of these institutions make them well-placed as models to broaden insurance provision and other developmental activities in these communities. The history of these institutions is characterised by a resistance to attempts of political capture, and helps to understand their apparent resistance to engage more broadly with NGOs and government agencies. As a result, any attempt to expand their activities will have to be done cautiously.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 34 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 685-703

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:34:y:2006:i:4:p:685-703
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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  12. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold & Joachim De Weerdt & Alula Pankhurst, 2004. "Extending Insurance?: Funeral Associations in Ethiopia and Tanzania," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 240, OECD Publishing.
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  14. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
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  18. Mariam, Damen Haile, 2003. "Indigenous social insurance as an alternative financing mechanism for health care in Ethiopia (the case of eders)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1719-1726, April.
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