IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Determinants of life insurance consumption across countries


  • Beck, Thorsten
  • Webb, Ian


The importance of life insurance companies as part of the financial sector has significantly increased over the past decades, both as provider of important financial services to consumers and as a major investor in the capital market. However, the authors still observe a large variance in life insurance consumption across countries, which raises the question of its determinants. The authors use a greatly expanded data set on life insurance consumption to examine the determinants of the demand and supply of life insurance products across countries and over time. Using a cross-sectional sample of 63 countries averaged over 1980-96, the authors find that educational attainment, banking sector development, and inflation are the most robust predictors of life insurance consumption, while income is only a weak predictor. The results on educational attainment and inflation are confirmed in a panel of 23 countries over the period 1960-96. The results strengthen the case for promoting price stability, financial sector reform, and an efficient education system if life insurance and its many benefits are to be fully realized in an economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Beck, Thorsten & Webb, Ian, 2002. "Determinants of life insurance consumption across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2792, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2792

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    3. Boyd, John H. & Levine, Ross & Smith, Bruce D., 2001. "The impact of inflation on financial sector performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 221-248, April.
    4. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
    5. Lewis, Frank D, 1989. "Dependents and the Demand for Life Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 452-467, June.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-223, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jiří Šindelář, 2016. "Quantitative Forecast of Demand for Life Insurance in CR in 2015-2018: Macroeconomic Growth versus Industry Restructuring," Český finanční a účetní časopis, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(1), pages 5-23.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2792. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.