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Informal Insurance and Moral Hazard: Gambling and Remittances in Thailand

Author

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  • Douglas Miller

    (Princeton University)

  • Anna Paulson

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

More than 35% of Thai households either give or receive remittances, and remittances account for about one-third of the income of the receiving households. Remittances may be an important source of protection against adverse events for the receiving household. This paper provides evidence that remittances behave in a way that is consistent with insurance: they are sensitive to shocks to regional rainfall and they respond to household level events. The paper goes on to examine whether there is evidence of moral hazard in the informal insurance contracts that link households who send and receive remittances. Specifically, we examine how the quality of insurance that is offered through remittances affects the probability and the amount of gambling done by households that either send or receive remittances. The evidence is consistent with moral hazard: households who remit are more likely to gamble and gamble more the higher the potential quality of insurance between the sending and the receiving province. Alternatively, the results can be interpreted to indicate that households who are more insured shift their portfolios toward riskier investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Miller & Anna Paulson, 2000. "Informal Insurance and Moral Hazard: Gambling and Remittances in Thailand," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1463, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1463
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
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    3. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-926, August.
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    5. Ligon, Ethan, 1996. "Risk-Sharing and Information: Theory and Measurement in Village Economies," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt0mx075dh, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    6. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
    7. Lee Lillard & Robert Willis, 1997. "Motives for interqenerational transfers: Evidence from Malaysia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 115-134, February.
    8. Udry, Christopher, 1990. "Credit Markets in Northern Nigeria: Credit as Insurance in a Rural Economy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 251-269, September.
    9. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
    10. Warneryd, Karl-Erik, 1996. "Risk attitudes and risky behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 749-770, December.
    11. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-956, October.
    12. Cox, Donald & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1990. "Achieving Social Objectives through Private Transfers: A Review," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 5(2), pages 205-218, July.
    13. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-1526, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alger, Ingela & Weibull, Jörgen, 2007. "The Fetters of the Sib: Weber Meets Darwin," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 682, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Nnaemeka Chukwuone & Ebele Amaechina & Sunday Emeka Enebeli-Uzor & Evelyn Iyoko & Benjamin Okpukpara, 2012. "Analysis of Impact of Remittance on Poverty in Nigeria," Working Papers PMMA 2012-09, PEP-PMMA.
    3. McKernan, Signe-Mary & Pitt, Mark M. & Moskowitz, David, 2005. "Use of the formal and informal financial sectors : does gender matter? empirical evidence from rural Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3491, The World Bank.
    4. Ingela Alger & Jörgen W. Weibull, 2007. "Family ties, incentives and development: A model of coerced altruism," Carleton Economic Papers 07-10, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2008.
    5. Calero, Carla & Bedi, Arjun S. & Sparrow, Robert, 2009. "Remittances, Liquidity Constraints and Human Capital Investments in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1143-1154, June.
    6. Lykke E. Andersen & Bent Jesper Christensen & Oscar Molina, 2005. "The Impact of Aid on Recipient Behavior: A Micro-Level Dynamic Analysis of Remittances, Schooling, Work, Consumption, Investment and Social Mobility in Nicaragua," Development Research Working Paper Series 02/2005, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.

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