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Formal and Informal Social Protection in Iraq


  • Najat El Mekkaoui de Freitas

    () (University of Paris Dauphine, LEDa-Dial)

  • Hillary Johnson


We study formal and informal insurance in Iraq using empirical data from a household survey. We study access to social security, health insurance, and retirement. Then, we examine the types of risks that Iraqi households face, and the informal coping mechanisms they use to deal with them. After studying formal and informal social protection separately, we study the relationship between the two and test the hypothesis of crowding out. We find that socio-demographic characteristics affect formal insurance detention, the probability of a risk occurring, and the type of risk coping mechanism that a household uses. The most important determinant of receiving formal benefits is the sector of employment: public sector workers are 83% more likely than private sector workers to have formal benefits. Poverty, the type of employment, the place of residence, the size of the household, the gender of the household head, and the education of the household impact the probability with which a household is affected by different types of risks. These socio-demographic characteristics along with the type of risk that the household faced influence the household’s choice of risk coping mechanism. We find evidence of crowding out; however, we conclude that this should not translate to a reduction in formal safety nets. Our results have many policy implications to improve access to formal insurance, reduce risks, and mitigate the negative aspects of certain informal coping mechanisms in Iraq.

Suggested Citation

  • Najat El Mekkaoui de Freitas & Hillary Johnson, 2012. "Formal and Informal Social Protection in Iraq," Working Papers 739, Economic Research Forum, revised 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:739

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cerami, Alfio, 2018. "The Lights of Iraq: Electricity Usage and the Iraqi War-fare Regime," MPRA Paper 87276, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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