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Risk Preferences and Demand for Insurance in Peru: A Field Experiment

  • Galarza, Francisco B.
  • Carter, Michael R.

This paper reports the results of behavioral economic experiments conducted in Peru to examine the relationship amongst risk preferences, loan take-up, and insurance purchase decisions. This area-based yield insurance can help reduce people's vulnerability to large scale covariate shocks, and can also lower the loan default probability under extreme negative covariate shocks. In a context of collateralized formal credit markets, we provide suggestive evidence that insurance may help reduce the fear of losing collateral that prevents potential borrowers from taking loans. Framing these experiments to recreate a real life situation, we started with a Baseline Game where subjects had to choose between a fallback production project and an uninsured loan. We then introduced a third project choice--loan with yield insurance (Insurance Game)--which allows us to measure the effect of introducing insurance on the demand for loans. Overall, more than 50 percent of the subjects are willing to buy insurance in this insurance game. Further, controling for the number of peers in the ag network, wealth, and choices made in the baseline game, we find that the project choice decision is predicted by a judgment bias known as hot-hand effect, and risk aversion. In the latter case, the shape of the relationship is quadratic, meaning that highly risk averse subjects will prefer switching to the risky, uninsured loan project, while those showing a low and moderate risk aversion will stick to the safer (fallback or insured loan) projects.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/61871
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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado with number 61871.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:61871
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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2008. "The Experimental Approach to Development Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gin, Xavier & Yang, Dean, 2009. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption: Field experimental evidencefrom Malawi," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-11, May.
  3. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
  4. Dean Karlan & Xavier Gine & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela, 2006. "Microfinance Games," Working Papers 936, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  5. Boucher, Steve & Carter, Michael R. & Guirkinger, Catherine, 2005. "Risk Rationing and Wealth Effects in Credit Markets," Working Papers 190912, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  6. Galarza, Francisco B., 2009. "Choices under Risk in Rural Peru," Staff Paper Series 542, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  7. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  8. Lybbert, Travis J., 2006. "Indian farmers' valuation of yield distributions: Will poor farmers value `pro-poor' seeds?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 415-441, October.
  9. Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2007. "Patternsof rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4408, The World Bank.
  10. Shawn Cole & Xavier Gine & Jeremy Tobacman & Petia Topalova & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2013. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 104-35, January.
  11. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey P. Carpenter, 2005. "Experiments and Economic Development: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0505, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  12. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
  13. Feder, Gershon, 1980. "Farm Size, Risk Aversion and the Adoption of New Technology under Uncertainty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 263-83, July.
  14. repec:feb:artefa:0092 is not listed on IDEAS
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