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Insurance for the Poor: The Case of Informal Insurance Groups in Benin

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  • Philippe LeMay-Boucher

Abstract

This paper studies indigenous insurance groups using evidence from urban areas in Benin. Many of these informal institutions co-exist within neighbourhood-distance. They are based on well-defined rules and regulations, offering premium-based insurance for funeral expenses, as well as other forms of insurance and credit to cope with hardships. We provide first a description of these groups. Then we investigate, with the help of an original dataset, which individual characteristics are significant in explaining both the probability to join such groups and the choice of insurance coverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe LeMay-Boucher, 2007. "Insurance for the Poor: The Case of Informal Insurance Groups in Benin," CERT Discussion Papers 0707, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hwe:certdp:0707
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2006. "Risk-sharing networks and insurance against illness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 337-356, December.
    2. Bloch, Francis & Genicot, Garance & Ray, Debraj, 2008. "Informal insurance in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 36-58, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2003. "Food aid and informal insurance," CSAE Working Paper Series 2003-01, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    6. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold & Joachim De Weerdt & Alula Pankhurst, 2004. "Extending Insurance?: Funeral Associations in Ethiopia and Tanzania," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 240, OECD Publishing.
    7. Jean-Philippe Platteau, 1997. "Mutual insurance as an elusive concept in traditional rural communities," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(6), pages 764-796.
    8. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    9. Garance Genicot & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Group Formation in Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 87-113.
    10. Olivier Dagnelie & Philippe LeMay-Boucher, 2007. "ROSCA Participation in Benin: A Commitment Issue," CERT Discussion Papers 0708, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    11. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062364, March.
    12. Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
    13. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
    14. 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.
    15. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lourdes Diaz Olvera & Didier Plat & Pascal Pochet, 2010. "Pauvreté, mobilité quotidienne et accès aux ressources dans les villes subsahariennes," Post-Print halshs-00622467, HAL.
    2. Olivier Dagnelie & Philippe Lemay‐Boucher, 2012. "Rosca Participation in Benin: A Commitment Issue," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(2), pages 235-252, April.
    3. Olivier Dagnelie & Philippe LeMay-Boucher, 2007. "ROSCA Participation in Benin: A Commitment Issue," CERT Discussion Papers 0708, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    4. Philippe LeMay-Boucher, 2007. "Inside Beninese Households: How Spouses Manage their Personal Income," CERT Discussion Papers 0705, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    groups; insurance; Benin;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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