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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. Xavier Gin� & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "Microfinance Games," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 60-95, July.
  2. Morduch, J., 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Papers 512, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  3. Galarza, Francisco B., 2009. "Choices under Risk in Rural Peru," Staff Paper Series 542, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2008. "The Experimental Approach to Development Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Robert M. Townsend & Shawn Cole & Jeremy Tobacman & Xavier Gine & James Ian Vickery & Petia Topalova, 2012. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," IMF Working Papers 12/195, International Monetary Fund.
  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 & Yang, Dean, 2007. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption : field experimental evidence from Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4425, The World Bank.
  10. 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.
  11. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2007. "Patterns of rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Staff Reports 302, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. repec:feb:artefa:0092 is not listed on IDEAS
  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.
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