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Patternsof rainfall insurance participation in rural India

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Listed:
  • Gine, Xavier
  • Townsend, Robert
  • Vickery, James

Abstract

This paper describes the contract design and institutional features of an innovative rainfall insurance policy offered to smallholder farmers in rural India, and presents preliminary evidence on the determinants of insurance participation. Insurance takeup is found to be decreasing in basis risk between insurance payouts and income fluctuations, increasing in household wealth and decreasing in the extent to which credit constraints bind. These results match with predictions of a simple neoclassical model appended with borrowing constraints. Other patterns are less consistent with the"benchmark"model; namely, participation in village networks and measures of familiarity with the insurance vendor are strongly correlated with insurance takeup decisions, and risk-averse households are found to be less, not more, likely to purchase insurance. We suggest that these results reflect household uncertainty about the product itself, given their limited experience with it.

Suggested Citation

  • Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2007. "Patternsof rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4408, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4408
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Youngjae Lim & Robert Townsend, 1998. "General Equilibrium Models of Financial Systems: Theory and Measurement in Village Economies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 59-118, January.
    2. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    3. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, June.
    4. Jaap H. Abbring & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Dynamic Insurance Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 767-820, June.
    5. Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
    6. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    7. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    8. Gadgil, Sulochana & Seshagiri Rao, P. R. & Narahari Rao, K., 2002. "Use of climate information for farm-level decision making: rainfed groundnut in southern India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 431-457, December.
    9. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
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