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Title: Insurance design for developing countries
Author: Clarke, Daniel J.
ISNI:       0000 0003 6291 3684
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Over the last ten years there has been a renewed interest in providing agricultural insurance in developing countries. However, voluntary demand for unsubsidised insurance products has been low, particularly from the poorest farmers. Chapter One presents a model of rational demand for hedging products, where there is a risk of contractual nonperformance. Demand is characterised and bounded for risk averse and decreasing absolute risk averse decision makers. For constant absolute and relative risk averse utility functions, demand is hump-shaped in the degree of risk aversion when the price is actuarially unfair, first increasing then decreasing, and either decreasing or decreasing-increasing-decreasing in risk aversion when the price is actuarially favourable. The apparently low level of demand for consumer hedging instruments, particularly from the most risk averse, is explained as a rational response to deadweight costs and the risk of contractual nonperformance. A numerical example is presented which suggests that some of the unsubsidised weather derivatives currently being designed for and marketed to poor farmers may in fact be poor products. Chapter Two presents experimental evidence collected from a framed microinsurance lab experiment using poor subjects in rural Ethiopia. In line with the theoretical model of Chapter One, demand for actuarially unfair index insurance is hump-shaped in wealth, first increasing then decreasing. In contrast with recent field experiments where it is not possible to demonstrate that low demand for indexed insurance is `too low', use of a laboratory experiment with an objectively known joint probability distribution allows normative statements to be made about the observed level of demand. The observed level of demand for index insurance in the experiment is higher than the decreasing absolute risk averse upper bound of Chapter One, suggesting that subjects bought `too much' index insurance. Chapter Three presents a vision of insurance design for the poor. Technically optimal arrangements involve insurance providers, such as microinsurers or governments, acting as reinsurer to groups of individuals who have access to cheap information about each other, such as extended families or members of close-knit communities, who in turn offer mutual insurance to each other.
Supervisor: Mukerji, Sujoy ; Stefan, Dercon Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics ; Development economics