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Insurance, credit, and technology adoption : field experimental evidence from Malawi


  • Gine, Xavier
  • Yang, Dean


The adoption of new agricultural technologies may be discouraged because of their inherent riskiness. This study implemented a randomized field experiment to ask whether the provision of insurance against a major source of production risk induces farmers to take out loans to invest in a new crop variety. The study sample was composed of roughly 800 maize and groundnut farmers in Malawi, where by far the dominant source of production risk is the level of rainfall. We randomly selected half of the farmers to be offered credit to purchase high-yielding hybrid maize and improved groundnut seeds for planting in the November 2006 crop season. The other half of the farmers were offered a similar credit package but were also required to purchase (at actuarially fair rates) a weather insurance policy that partially or fully forgave the loan in the event of poor rainfall. Surprisingly, take up was lower by 13 percentage points among farmers offered insurance with the loan. Take-up was 33.0 percent for farmers who were offered the uninsured loan. There is suggestive evidence that the reduced take-up of the insured loan was due to the high cognitive cost of evaluating the insurance: insured loan take-up was positively correlated with farmer education levels. By contrast, the take-up of the uninsured loan was uncorrelated with farmer education.

Suggested Citation

  • Gine, Xavier & Yang, Dean, 2007. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption : field experimental evidence from Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4425, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4425

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dercon, Stefan & Christiaensen, Luc, 2011. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: Evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 159-173, November.
    2. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    3. Dercon, Stefan & Christiaensen, Luc, 2011. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: Evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 159-173, November.
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    More about this item


    ; Access to Finance; Debt Markets; Hazard Risk Management; Crops&Crop Management Systems;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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