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Are the poor less well-insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China

  • Jalan, Jyotsna
  • Ravallion, Martin

The authors test how well consumption is insured against income risk in a panel of sampled households in rural China. They estimate the risk insurance models by Generalized Method of Moments, treating income and household size as endogenous. Insurance exists for all wealth groups, although the hypothesis of perfect insurance is universally rejected. Those in the poorest wealth decile are the least well-insured, with 40 percent of an income shock being passed on to current consumption. By contrast, consumption by the richest third ofhouseholds is protected from almost 90 percent of an income shock. The extent of insurance in a given wealth stratum varies little between poor and nonpoor areas.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1863.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 1997
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1863
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  1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-44, April.
  2. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin & DEC, 1994. "Poverty and household size," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1332, The World Bank.
  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. Besley, T., 1993. "Savings, Credit and Insurance," Papers 167, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  5. Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 1998. "When economic reform is faster than statistical reform - measuring and explaining inequality in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1902, The World Bank.
  7. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  8. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  9. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
  10. Martin Ravallion & Shubham Chaudhuri, 1997. "Risk and Insurance in Village India: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(1), pages 171-184, January.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and policy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2551-2657 Elsevier.
  15. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  16. Alderman, Harold & Paxson, Christina H & DEC, 1992. "Do the poor insure? A synthesis of the literature on risk and consumption in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1008, The World Bank.
  17. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, March.
  18. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Are there dynamic gains from a poor-area development program?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1695, The World Bank.
  19. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1999. " When Economic Reform Is Faster Than Statistical Reform: Measuring and Explaining Income Inequality in Rural China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(1), pages 33-56, February.
  20. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Data in transition: Assessing rural living standards in Southern China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 23-56.
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