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Microinsurance, Trust and Economic Development: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment

  • Hongbin Cai
  • Yuyu Chen
  • Hanming Fang
  • Li-An Zhou

We report results from a large randomized natural field experiment conducted in southwestern China in the context of insurance for sows. Our study sheds light on two important questions about microinsurance. First, how does access to formal insurance affect farmers' production decisions? Second, what explains the low takeup rate of formal insurance, despite substantial premium subsidy from the government? We find that providing access to formal insurance significantly increases farmers' tendency to raise sows. We argue that this finding also suggests that farmers are not previously insured efficiently through informal mechanisms. We also provide several pieces of evidence suggesting that trust, or lack thereof, for government-sponsored insurance products is a significant barrier for farmers' willingness to participate in the insurance program.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15396.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15396
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  1. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2008. "Patterns of Rainfall Insurance Participation in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 539-566, October.
  2. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
  3. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1989. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investments in Bullocks in India," Bulletins 7487, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  4. Petia Topalova & Shawn Cole & Xavier Gene & Jeremy Tobacman & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2011. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," Working Papers id:4293, eSocialSciences.
  5. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "Trusting the Stock Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2557-2600, December.
  6. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  7. Barry K. Goodwin & Monte L. Vandeveer & John L. Deal, 2004. "An Empirical Analysis of Acreage Effects of Participation in the Federal Crop Insurance Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1058-1077.
  8. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2013. "Team Incentives: Evidence From A Firm Level Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(5), pages 1079-1114, October.
  9. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  10. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, June.
  11. Besley, T., 1993. "Savings, Credit and Insurance," Papers 167, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  12. O'Donoghue, Erik J. & Key, Nigel D. & Roberts, Michael J., 2005. "Does risk matter for farm businesses? The effect of crop insurance on production and diversification," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19397, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  13. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
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