Challenging Belief in the Law of Small Numbers
Introduction: The context of row crop risk management continues to grow more complex. While the magnitude of price and yield risk changes over time, the development of sophisticated risk management tools and complex government policies may improve growers’ ability to manage risk -- if these instruments are used correctly. Conversely, these instruments may actually increase risk exposure if used incorrectly. Gone are the days when growers had access only to individual yield insurance and national triggered price programs. In 1996, revenue insurance became available for many crop growers. For most major crops, the acreage covered by revenue insurance now far exceeds that covered by yield insurance. The 2008 farm bill created the complex risk policies of ACRE and SURE (Ubilava et al.). Mitchell et al. argue that ACRE, which subsumed multiple revenue risks and integrated with other risk instruments, was difficult for growers to understand and difficult for county USDA officials to implement. Current farm bill proposals are now focused on various shallow loss programs such as Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) and Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) which layer risk protection on top of crop insurance. Thus, producers are likely to continue to be confronted with complex risk management tools which may overlap or leave gaps in risk protection. Further, the decision becomes even more complex when one considers the possibility of also using futures or forward contracts.
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- Shapira, Zur & Venezia, Itzhak, 2008. "On the preference for full-coverage policies: Why do people buy too much insurance?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 747-761, November.
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- Anderson, John D. & Harri, Ardian & Coble, Keith H., 2009. "Techniques for Multivariate Simulation from Mixed Marginal Distributions with Application to Whole-Farm Revenue Simulation," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 34(1), April.
- Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Inference by Believers in the Law of Small Numbers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 775-816.
- Francisco Galarza & Michael Carter, 2011.
"Risk Preferences and Demand for Insurance in Peru: A Field Experiment,"
11-08, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico, revised Jan 2011.
- Galarza, Francisco B. & Carter, Michael R., 2010. "Risk Preferences and Demand for Insurance in Peru: A Field Experiment," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61871, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
- Keith H. Coble & Barry J. Barnett, 2013. "Why Do We Subsidize Crop Insurance?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(2), pages 498-504.
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