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Group-based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania

  • Stefan Dercon
  • Tessa Bold

A funeral is a costly occasion. This paper studies indigenous insurance institutions developed to cope with the high costs of funerals, based on evidence from rural areas in Tanzania and Ethiopia. These institutions are based on well-defined rules and regulations, often offering premium-based insurance for funeral expenses. Increasingly, they are also offering other forms of insurance and credit to cope with hardship. The paper argues that the characteristics and inclusiveness of these institutions make them well-placed as models to broaden insurance provision and other developmental activities in these communities. The history of these institutions is characterised by a resistance to attempts of political capture, and helps to understand their apparent resistance to engage more broadly with NGOs and government agencies. As a result, any attempt to expand their activities will have to be done cautiously.

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File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2004-27text.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2004-27.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2004-27
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  1. 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.
  2. Mogues, Tewodaj, 2006. "Shocks, livestock asset dynamics and social capital in Ethiopia:," DSGD discussion papers 38, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Grimard, Franque, 1997. "Household consumption smoothing through ethnic ties: evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 391-422, August.
  4. David M. Dror & Alexander S. Preker, 2002. "Social Reinsurance : A New Approach to Sustainable Community Health Financing," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15211, September.
  5. Stefan Dercon, 2002. "Income Risk, Coping Strategies, and Safety Nets," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 141-166, September.
  6. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1727, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Skees, Jerry & Varangis, Panos & Larson, Donald & Siegel, Paul, 2002. "Can Financial Markets be Tapped to Help Poor People Cope with Weather Risks?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Mariam, Damen Haile, 2003. "Indigenous social insurance as an alternative financing mechanism for health care in Ethiopia (the case of eders)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1719-1726, April.
  11. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
  12. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 25-53.
  13. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  14. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
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