IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Weather index drought insurance: an ex ante evaluation for millet growers in Niger


  • Leblois, Antoine
  • Quirion, Philippe
  • Alhassane, Agali
  • Traore, Seydou


In the Sudano-Sahelian region, which includes South Niger, the inter-annual variability of the rainy season is high and irrigation is scarce. As a consequence, bad rainy seasons have a massive impact on crop yield and regularly entail food crises. Traditional insurances based on crop damage assessment are not available because of asymmetric information and high transaction costs compared to the value of production. We assess the risk mitigation capacity of an alternative form of insurance which has been implemented in India since 2003: insurance based on a weather index. We compare the capacity of various weather indices to increase utility of a representative risk-averse farmer. We show the importance of using plot-level yield data rather than village averages, which bias results. We also illustrate the need for out-of-sample estimations in order to avoid overfitting. Even with the appropriate index and assuming a substantial risk aversion, we find a limited gain of implementing insurance, roughly corresponding to, or slightly exceeding, the cost of implementing such insurances observed in India. However, when we treat separately the plots with and without fertilizers, we show that the benefit of insurance is higher in the former case. This suggests that insurances may increase the use of risk-increasing inputs like fertilizers and improved cultivars, hence average yields, which are very low in the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Leblois, Antoine & Quirion, Philippe & Alhassane, Agali & Traore, Seydou, 2011. "Weather index drought insurance: an ex ante evaluation for millet growers in Niger," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 120378, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae11:120378

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allan W. Gray & Michael D. Boehlje & Brent A. Gloy & Stephen P. Slinsky, 2004. "How U.S. Farm Programs and Crop Revenue Insurance Affect Returns to Farm Land," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 238-253.
    2. Dercon, Stefan & Christiaensen, Luc, 2011. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: Evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 159-173, November.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 104-135, January.
    5. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2008. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 311-338.
    6. Carter, Michael R. & Galarza, Francisco B. & Boucher, Steve, 2007. "Underwriting Area-based Yield Insurance to Crowd- in Credit Supply Demand," Working Papers 190918, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    7. Antoine Leblois & Philippe Quirion, 2010. "Agricultural Insurances Based on Meteorological Indices: Realizations, Methods and Research Agenda," Working Papers 2010.71, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. Vasco Molini & Michiel Keyzer & Bart van den Boom & Wouter Zant & Nicholas Nsowah-Nuamah, 2010. "Safety Nets and Index-Based Insurance: Historical Assessment and Semiparametric Simulation for Northern Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(4), pages 671-712, July.
    9. Gunnar Breustedt & Raushan Bokusheva & Olaf Heidelbach, 2008. "Evaluating the Potential of Index Insurance Schemes to Reduce Crop Yield Risk in an Arid Region," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 312-328, June.
    10. H. Holly Wang, 2004. "The impact of US commodity programmes on hedging in the presence of crop insurance," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 31(3), pages 331-352, September.
    11. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2008. "Patterns of Rainfall Insurance Participation in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 539-566, October.
    12. Anthony Patt & Nicole Peterson & Michael Carter & Maria Velez & Ulrich Hess & Pablo Suarez, 2009. "Making index insurance attractive to farmers," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 14(8), pages 737-753, December.
    13. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, July.
    14. Carter, Michael R. & Galarza, Francisco & Boucher, Stephen, 2007. "Underwriting area-based yield insurance to crowd-in credit supply and demand," MPRA Paper 24326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Zant, Wouter, 2008. "Hot Stuff: Index Insurance for Indian Smallholder Pepper Growers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1585-1606, September.
    16. Vedenov, Dmitry V. & Barnett, Barry J., 2004. "Efficiency of Weather Derivatives as Primary Crop Insurance Instruments," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(03), December.
    17. Molini, Vasco & Keyzer, Michiel A. & van den Boom, Bart & Zant, Wouter, 2007. "Creating safety nets through semi-parametric index-based insurance: A simulation for Northern Ghana," 101st Seminar, July 5-6, 2007, Berlin Germany 9263, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    18. Alan Fuchs & Hendrik Wolff, 2011. "Concept and Unintended Consequences of Weather Index Insurance: The Case of Mexico," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(2), pages 505-511.
    19. Chavas, Jean-Paul & Holt, Matthew T, 1996. "Economic Behavior under Uncertainty: A Joint Analysis of Risk Preferences and Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 329-335, May.
    20. Sommarat Chantarat & Calum G. Turvey & Andrew G. Mude & Christopher B. Barrett, 2008. "Improving humanitarian response to slow-onset disasters using famine-indexed weather derivatives," Agricultural Finance Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 68(1), pages 169-195, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Takahashi, Kazushi & Ikegami, Munenobu & Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2016. "Experimental Evidence on the Drivers of Index-Based Livestock Insurance Demand in Southern Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 324-340.
    2. Antoine Leblois & Philippe Quirion & Benjamin Sultan, 2013. "Price vs. weather shock hedging for cash crops: ex ante evaluation for cotton producers in Cameroon," CIRED Working Papers hal-00796528, HAL.
    3. Moghaddasi, Reza & Eghbali, Alireza & Lakhaye Rizi, Parisa, 2014. "Analysis and Forecasting of Drought by Developing a Fuzzy-Based Hybrid Index in Iran," MPRA Paper 53153, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Takahashi, Kazushi & Ikegami, Munenobu & Sheahan, Megan & Barrett, Christopher B., 2014. "Quasi-experimental evidence on the drivers of index-based livestock insurance demand in Southern Ethiopia," IDE Discussion Papers 480, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).

    More about this item


    Agriculture; index-based insurance.; Crop Production/Industries; Risk and Uncertainty; G21; O12; Q12; Q18; Q54.;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:eaae11:120378. 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: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.