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Social Norms and Individual Savings in the Context of Informal Insurance

  • Zaki Wahhaj

    ()

This paper develops a theory of informal insurance in the presence of an intertemporal technology. It is shown that when an insurance agreement suffers from enforcement problems, constraints on individual savings behaviour can enable the group to sustain greater cooperation. This result provides a motivation for a variety of social norms observed in traditional societies which discourage 'excessive' accumulation of wealth by individuals. The paper also shows that social norms that discourage savings are more likely to benefit poorer communities and thus, paradoxically, cause them to fall further behind even as it serves a useful purpose.

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File URL: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/342720/CEDI_08-20.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University in its series CEDI Discussion Paper Series with number 08-20.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edb:cedidp:08-20
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  1. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2000. "Mutual Insurance, Individual Savings and Limited Commitment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(2), pages 216-246, April.
  2. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana R. Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Staff Report 293, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Kimball, Miles S, 1988. "Farmers' Cooperatives as Behavior Toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 224-32, March.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andrew Atkeson & Robert E. Lucas, 1992. "On Efficient Distribution With Private Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 427-453.
  6. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
  7. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609.
  8. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 209-244.
  9. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1999. "Efficient allocations with hidden income and hidden storage," Staff Report 238, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 209-244.
  11. Coate, S. & Ravallion, M., 1989. "Reciprocity Without Commitment: Characterization and Performance of Informal Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Papers 96, Warwick - Development Economics Research Centre.
  12. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Figuring out the impact of hidden savings on optimal unemployment insuranc," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000291, David K. Levine.
  13. Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1988. "Self-Enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 541-554.
  14. Allen, Franklin, 1985. "Repeated principal-agent relationships with lending and borrowing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 27-31.
  15. Karine Gobert & Michel Poitevin, 2006. "Non-commitment and savings in dynamic risk-sharing contracts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 357-372, 06.
  16. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gauthier, Celine & Poitevin, Michel & Gonzalez, Patrick, 1997. "Ex Ante Payments in Self-Enforcing Risk-Sharing Contracts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 106-144, September.
  18. Christopher Udry, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526.
  19. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao & Sonalde Desai, 2004. "Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption: Signaling Social Status in Rural India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  20. Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
  21. Marcle Fafchamps, 1999. "Risk sharing and quasi-credit," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 257-278.
  22. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  23. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Savings, credit and insurance," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2123-2207 Elsevier.
  24. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609.
  25. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2001. "Efficient Allocations with Hidden Income and Hidden Storage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 523-542.
  26. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
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