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Flexible insurance for heterogeneous farmers: Results from a small-scale pilot in Ethiopia

  • Hill, Ruth Vargas
  • Robles, Miguel

We analyze the effectiveness of a new approach in providing weather index–based insurance products to low-income populations. The approach is based on the concept of providing multiple weather securities that pay a fixed amount if the event written on the security (that monthly rainfall at a nearby weather station falls below a stated cutoff) comes true. A theoretical model is developed to outline the conditions in which weather securities could outperform crop-specific weather index–based insurance policies. Data collected during both an experimental game and real purchases of such insurance policies among farmers in southern Ethiopia suggest that the securities are well understood and can fit heterogeneous farmer needs. This paper documents (1) heterogeneity of rainfall risk among farmers, (2) the understanding of securities and transmission of information about weather securities among members of endogenously formed risk-sharing groups, and (3) the nature of purchasing decisions and manner in which they are made.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1092.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1092
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  1. Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2007. "Patternsof rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4408, The World Bank.
  2. Stefan Dercon & Luc Christiaensen, 2007. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: evidence from Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-06, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang & Li-An Zhou, 2009. "Microinsurance, Trust and Economic Development: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cole, Shawn & Gine, Xavier & Tobacman, Jeremy & Topalova, Petia & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2010. "Barriers to household risk management : evidence from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5504, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Daniel Clarke & Sefan Dercon, 2009. "Insurance, Credit and Safety Nets for the Poor in a World of Risk," Working Papers 81, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  7. Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2007. "Statistical analysis of rainfall insurance payouts in southern India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4426, The World Bank.
  8. Hill, Ruth Vargas & Viceisza, Angelino, 2010. "An experiment on the impact of weather shocks and insurance on risky investment," IFPRI discussion papers 974, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Cummins, J. David & Lalonde, David & Phillips, Richard D., 2004. "The basis risk of catastrophic-loss index securities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 77-111, January.
  10. Kurosaki, Takashi & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2002. "Insurance market efficiency and crop choices in Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 419-453, April.
  11. Ruth Vargas Hill, 2009. "Using Stated Preferences and Beliefs to Identify the Impact of Risk on Poor Households," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 151-171.
  12. Skees, Jerry & Hazell, P. B. R. & Miranda, Mario, 1999. "New approaches to crop yield insurance in developing countries:," EPTD discussion papers 55, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Dercon, Stefan & Hill, Ruth Vargas & Clarke, Daniel & Outes-Leon, Ingo & Seyoum Taffesse, Alemayehu, 2014. "Offering rainfall insurance to informal insurance groups: Evidence from a field experiment in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 132-143.
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