IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Formal and Informal Risk Sharing in LDCs: Theory and Empirical Evidence

  • Dubois, Pierre


    (University of Toulouse I)

  • Jullien, Bruno


    (University of Toulouse I)

  • Magnac, Thierry


    (University of Toulouse I)

We develop and estimate a model of dynamic interactions between households where commitment is limited and contracts are incomplete to explain the patterns of income and consumption growth in village economies of less developed countries. Households can insure through both formal contracts and informal agreements, that is, agreements specifying voluntary transfers that need to be self-enforceable. This theoretical setting nests the case of complete markets and the case where only informal agreements are available. We derive a system of non-linear equations for income and consumption growth. A key prediction of our model is that both variables are affected by lagged consumption as a consequence of the interplay of formal and informal contracting possibilities. In a semi-parametric setting, we prove identification, derive testable restrictions and estimate the model with the use of data from Pakistan villages. Empirical results are consistent with the economic arguments. Incentive constraints due to self-enforcement bind with positive probability and formal contracts are used to reduce this probability.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2842.

in new window

Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Econometrica, 2008, 76(4), 679-726
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2842
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. repec:adr:anecst:y:2000:i:59:p:01 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Income fluctuation and asymmetric information: An example of a repeated principal-agent problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 367-390, August.
  3. Gauthier, C. & Poitevin, M., 1994. "Using Ex-ante Payments in Self-Enforcing Risk-Sharing Contracts," Cahiers de recherche 9402, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  4. 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.
  5. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  6. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1974. "Incentives and Risk Sharing in Sharecropping," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 219-255.
  7. Dubois, Pierre & Jullien, Bruno & Magnac, Thierry, 2007. "Formal and Informal Risk Sharing in LDCs: Theory and Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2842, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Heckman, James J, 1990. "Varieties of Selection Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 313-18, May.
  9. Morduch, J., 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Papers 512, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  10. Pedro Albarran & Orazio P. Attanasio, 2003. "Limited Commitment and Crowding out of Private Transfers: Evidence from a Randomised Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C77-C85, March.
  11. Thorsten Koeppl, 2004. "Differentiability of the Efficient Frontier when Commitment to Risk Sharing is Limited," Working Papers 1049, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Doepke, Matthias & Townsend, Robert M, 2004. "Dynamic Mechanism Design with Hidden Income and Hidden Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Campbell, John Y, 1987. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1249-73, November.
  16. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1992. "Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 147-74, October.
  18. Masao Ogaki & Qiang Zhang, 1998. "Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion and Tests of Risk Sharing," Working Papers 98-02, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  19. David M. G. Newbery, 1977. "Risk Sharing, Sharecropping and Uncertain Labour Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 585-594.
  20. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1998. "Human capital, productivity, and labor allocation in rural Pakistan," FCND discussion papers 48, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  21. 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.
  22. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
  23. Behrman, Jere R. & Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1997. "The dynamics of agricultural production and the calorie-income relationship: Evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 187-207, March.
  24. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "Between the State and the Market: Can Informal Insurance Patch the Safety Net?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 187-207, August.
  25. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
  26. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  27. Harold L Cole & Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Efficient Allocations with Hidden Income and Hidden Storage," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1909, David K. Levine.
  28. Dercon, Stefan (ed.), 2004. "Insurance Against Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276837, December.
  29. Bliss, C. J. & Stern, N. H., 1982. "Palanpur: The Economy of an Indian Village," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284192, December.
  30. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating Uncertainty from Heterogeneity in Life Cycle Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 1437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  31. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609.
  32. Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1988. "Self-Enforcing Wage Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 541-554.
  33. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  34. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, 1995. "Imperfect Commitment, Altruism, and the Family: Evidence from Transfer Behavior in Low-Income Rural Areas," Home Pages _075, University of Pennsylvania.
  35. 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.
  36. Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
  37. Alderman, Harold & Garcia, Marito, 1993. "Poverty, household food security, and nutrition in rural Pakistan:," Research reports 96, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  38. Debraj Ray, 2002. "The Time Structure of Self-Enforcing Agreements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 547-582, March.
  39. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1998. "Testing Theories of Consumption Behavior Using Information on Aggregate Shocks: Income Seasonality and Rainfall in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 1-14.
  40. Bell, Clive, 1988. "Credit markets and interlinked transactions," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 763-830 Elsevier.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2842. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.