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Insurance, Credit and Safety Nets for the Poor in a World of Risk

  • Daniel Clarke
  • Sefan Dercon

This paper asks how insurance can be more effectively delivered to the poor, and what its role should be relative to other microfinance programmes, safety nets and informal insurance systems. We focus on the various interactions, including how insurance may crowd out credit and informal insurance, and implications for the design of insurance schemes. We argue that well-designed insurance schemes, building on existing informal systems, and focusing on catastrophic and serious covariate risks, could offer protection against risk and contribute to poverty reduction beyond the combined impact of microcredit programmes, safety nets and existing informal mutual support systems.

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File URL: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp81_2009.pdf
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Paper provided by United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs in its series Working Papers with number 81.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:81
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/working-papers.html
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  1. Ligon, Ethan & Thomas, Jonathan P & Worrall, Tim, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 209-44, January.
  2. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold, 2004. "Group-based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Dercon, Stefan & Krishnan, Pramila, 2002. "Risk Sharing and Public Transfers," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1972. "Some Aspects of the Pure Theory of Corporate Finance: Bankruptcies and Take-Overs," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 3(2), pages 458-482, Autumn.
  5. Stefan Dercon & Luc Christiaensen, 2007. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: evidence from Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2007. "Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts," Working Papers 956, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  7. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2007. "Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts," CEPR Discussion Papers 6407, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Stefan Dercon & John Hoddinott & Tassew Woldehanna, 2005. "Shocks and Consumption in 15 Ethiopian Villages, 1999--2004," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(4), pages 559-585, December.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
  12. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "Credit Elasticities in Less-Developed Economies: Implications for Microfinance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1040-68, June.
  13. Ashok S. Rai & Tomas Sj–str–m, 2004. "Is Grameen Lending Efficient? Repayment Incentives and Insurance in Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 217-234, 01.
  14. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
  15. Albarran, Pedro & Attanasio, Orazio P., 2002. "Do Public Transfers Crowd Out Private Transfers? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Mexico," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  16. Armendariz de Aghion, Beatriz, 1999. "On the design of a credit agreement with peer monitoring," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 79-104, October.
  17. Christian Gollier, 2003. "To Insure or Not to Insure?: An Insurance Puzzle," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 28(1), pages 5-24, June.
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