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Statistical analysis of rainfall insurance payouts in southern India

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

Using 40 years of historical rainfall data, this paper estimates a distribution for payouts on rainfall insurance policies offered to farmers in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India, in 2006. The authors find that the contracts primarily protect households against extreme tail events; half the expected value of indemnities paid by the insurance are generated by only 2 percent of rainfall realizations. Contract payouts are significantly correlatedcross-sectionally, and also inversely associated with real GDP growth. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for the potential benefits of insurance to households, the risks facing a financial institution underwriting rainfall insurance contracts, and pricing.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4426.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4426
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  1. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  2. Froot, Kenneth A. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1998. "Risk management, capital budgeting, and capital structure policy for financial institutions: an integrated approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 55-82, January.
  3. Froot, Kenneth A & Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1993. " Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1629-58, December.
  4. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "How Widespread Was Late Trading in Mutual Funds?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 284-289, May.
  5. Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2007. "Patternsof rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4408, The World Bank.
  6. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1998. "Testing Theories of Consumption Behavior Using Information on Aggregate Shocks: Income Seasonality and Rainfall in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 1-14.
  7. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
  8. Barry J. Barnett & Olivier Mahul, 2007. "Weather Index Insurance for Agriculture and Rural Areas in Lower-Income Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1241-1247.
  9. Zanjani, George, 2002. "Pricing and capital allocation in catastrophe insurance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 283-305, August.
  10. World Bank, 2005. "Managing Agricultural Production Risk : Innovations in Developing Countries," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8797, The World Bank.
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