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Barriers to household risk management : evidence from India

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  • Cole, Shawn
  • Gine, Xavier
  • Tobacman, Jeremy
  • Topalova, Petia
  • Townsend, Robert
  • Vickery, James

Abstract

Why do many households remain exposed to large exogenous sources of non-systematic income risk? This paper uses a series of randomized field experiments in rural India to test the importance of price and non-price factors in the adoption of an innovative rainfall insurance product. The analysis finds that demand is significantly price-elastic, but that even if insurance were offered with payout ratios similar to US, widespread coverage would not be achieved. The paper identifies key non-price frictions that limit demand: liquidity constraints, particularly among poor households, lack of trust, and limited salience. The authors suggest potential improvements in contract design to mitigate these frictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cole, Shawn & Gine, Xavier & Tobacman, Jeremy & Topalova, Petia & Townsend, Robert & Vickery, James, 2010. "Barriers to household risk management : evidence from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5504, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5504
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Literacy; Debt Markets; Access to Finance; Emerging Markets; Labor Policies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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