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Insurance for the Poor?

  • Stefan Dercon (QEH), Tessa Bold, Cesar Calvo

Uninsured risk has substantial welfare costs, not just in the short run, but also in terms of perpetuating poverty. This paper discusses the scope for extending insurance to the poor in LAC countries. It is argued that insurance provision to the poor could play an important role in a comprehensive system of protection against risk, including other ex-ante measures such as promoting credit and savings as insurance, as well as a credible overall ex-post safety net. Insurance provision is best promoted via a partner-agent model, in which a local finance institution with close links to relatively poor communities teams up with an established insurer to deliver low cost, tailored products, and possible products include life, health, property and weather insurance. An essential role of the government would be to promote insurance provision to the poor by a relevant regulatory framework favouring MFIs within a partner-agent setup, and to provide overall credibility to the overall system of social protection. The paper also argues for the involvement of local indigenous risk-sharing and finance institutions as intermediaries to maximise the ability to reach the poor and the overall welfare benefits

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File URL: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/RePEc/qeh/qehwps/qehwps125.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series QEH Working Papers with number qehwps125.

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Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps125
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  1. Stefan Dercon, 2002. "Income Risk, Coping Strategies, and Safety Nets," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 141-166, September.
  2. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela & Xavier Gine, 2006. "Microfinance games," Framed Field Experiments 00150, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Moser, Caroline O. N., 1998. "The asset vulnerability framework: Reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-19, January.
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  8. 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).
  9. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold, 2007. "Insurance for the Poor?," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-073, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Braverman, Avishay & Guasch, J. Luis, 1986. "Rural credit markets and institutions in developing countries: Lessons for policy analysis from practice and modern theory," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(10-11), pages 1253-1267.
  11. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Binswanger, Hans P., 1992. "Wealth, weather risk, and the composition and profitability of agricultural investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1055, The World Bank.
  12. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  13. Sadoulet, Loic, 2002. "Incorporating Insurance Provisions in Microfinance Contracts: Learning from Visa®?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  14. Alejandro Gaviria & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 1999. "Patterns of Crime Victimization in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4186, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  15. Dercon, Stefan, 1996. "Risk, Crop Choice, and Savings: Evidence from Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(3), pages 485-513, April.
  16. Dercon, Stefan & Hoddinott, John, 2003. "Health, Shocks and Poverty Persistence," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  17. Conning, Jonathan & Kevane, Michael, 2002. "Why isn't there more Financial Intermediation in Developing Countries?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  18. Robert Holzmann & Steen Jorgensen, 2000. "Social risk management : a new conceptual framework for social protection and beyond," Social Protection Discussion Papers 21314, The World Bank.
  19. Garance Genicot & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Group Formation in Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 87-113.
  20. 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.
  21. Roberto Pizarro, 2001. "La vulnerabilidad social y sus desafíos: una mirada desde América Latina," DOCUMENTOS DE INVESTIGACION 003101, CEPAL NACIONES UNIDAS.
  22. Alejandro Gaviria & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 1999. "Patterns of Crime Victimization in Latin America," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4124, Inter-American Development Bank.
  23. Amartya K. Sen, 1966. "Peasants and Dualism with or without Surplus Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 425.
  24. Dean Karlan & Xavier Gine & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela, 2006. "Microfinance Games," Working Papers 936, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  25. 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.
  26. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "On the urbanization of poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2586, The World Bank.
  27. 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.
  28. Gaviria, Alejandro & Pages, Carmen, 2002. "Patterns of crime victimization in Latin American cities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 181-203, February.
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