Article | American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings | May 2014

Dynamics of Demand for Index Insurance: Evidence from a Long-Run Field Experiment

by Shawn A. Cole, Daniel Stein and Jeremy Tobacman

Abstract

This paper estimates how experimentally-manipulated experiences with a novel financial product, rainfall index insurance, affect subsequent insurance demand. Using a seven-year panel, we develop three main findings. First, recent experience matters for demand, consistent with overinference from small samples. Second, spillovers also matter, in the sense that the recent payout experience of village co-residents affects insurance demand about as much as one's own recent payout experience. Third, the spillover effect decays as time passes while the effect of one's own experience does not. We discuss implications of this analysis for commercial sustainability of this complicated but promising risk management technology.

Citation:

Cole, Shawn A., Daniel Stein, and Jeremy Tobacman. "Dynamics of Demand for Index Insurance: Evidence from a Long-Run Field Experiment." American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 104, no. 5 (May 2014): 284–290.