Insurance Against Poverty

Hardcover | November 15, 2004

EditorStefan Dercon

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Poor people in developing countries are often affected by droughts, floods, illness, crop failure, job loss, and economic downturns. Much of their energy goes into coping with these shocks and into day-to-day survival. While insurance and credit markets, combined with widespread socialsecurity, provide an important cushion against poverty in rich countries, the need for immediate survival may lock the poor into persistent poverty in developing countries.The poor in developing countries do have informal mechanisms to cope with risk and misfortune. These are based on income diversification, risk avoidance, self-insurance by saving together with family, and community-based mutual assistance. Nevertheless, the scope of these mechanisms remains limited.Repeated individual-specific shocks such as illness or pests, or covariate risks associated with drought, flood, or recession, undermine the ability of individuals and their families to cope with risk.We now know much more about vulnerability to risk and how poor people cope. Even more importantly, we have learned much about the large long-term consequences of these risks, which condemns many to persistent poverty and excludes them from economic growth. But there is much that can be done. Themicro-level studies that underpin this book offer new insights on how effective public action could be more effective in protecting the vulnerable against persistent poverty. Policy should focus on providing a comprehensive menu of ex-ante and post-crisis protection mechanisms, including new formsof insurance, savings, safety nets, and the means to strengthen the poor's asset base. Local communities have a big role to play: public funds should not be used to replace indigenous community-based support networks; rather they should be used to build on the strengths of these networks to ensurebroader and more effective protection.With numerous thematic chapters and case studies of both best practice and of failure, from a mix of low-income and middle-income countries across the developing world, this book evaluates alternatives in widening insurance and protection provision, and makes an important contribution to the topicalfield of insurance and risk.

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From the Publisher

Poor people in developing countries are often affected by droughts, floods, illness, crop failure, job loss, and economic downturns. Much of their energy goes into coping with these shocks and into day-to-day survival. While insurance and credit markets, combined with widespread socialsecurity, provide an important cushion against pove...

Stefan Dercon is a University Lecturer at the University of Oxford, and has been Professor in Development Economics at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, a Research Officer at the centre of the Study of African Economies, a Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Addis Ababa...

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Hardcover|Jun 24 2016

$30.81 online$30.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:484 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.18 inPublished:November 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199276838

ISBN - 13:9780199276837

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Table of Contents

Stefan Dercon: OverviewRisk and Insurance: evidence1. Stefan Dercon: Risk, Insurance and Poverty: a review2. Jonathan Morduch: Consumption Smoothing Across Space: Testing Theories of Risk-Sharing in the ICRISAT Study Region of South IndiaRisk and Poverty: Theory3. Abhijit Banerjee: The Two Poverties4. Marcel Fafchamps: Inequality and RiskRisk and Poverty Persistence5. Jyotsna Jalan and Martin Ravallion: Household Income Dynamics in Rural China6. Stefan Dercon and John Hoddinott: Health, Shocks and Poverty Persistence7. Paul Collier: The Macroeconomic Repercussions of Agricultural Shocks and their Implications for InsuranceIdentifying the Vulnerable8. Gisele Kamanou and Jonathan Morduch: Measuring Vulnerability to Poverty9. Ethan Ligon: Targeting and Informal InsuranceRisk and Social Institutions10. Joachim De Weerdt: Risk-Sharing and Endogenous Network Formation11. Markus Goldstein, Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet: Is a Friend in Need a Friend Indeed? Inclusion and Exclusion in Mutual Insurance Networks in Southern Ghana12. Jean-Philippe Platteau: The Gradual Erosion of the Social Security Function of Customary Land Tenure Arrangements in Lineage-Based SocietiesSafety nets and social institutions13. Pedro Albarran and Orazio P. Attanasio: Do Public Transfers Crowd Out Private Transfers? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Mexico14. Stefan Dercon and Pramila Krishnan: Food Aid and Informal Insurance15. Jonathan Conning and Michael Kevane: Why isn't there more Financial Intermediation in Developing Countries?Developing better protection for the poor16. Christopher B. Barrett, Stein Holden and Daniel C. Clay: Can Food-for-Work Programmes Reduce Vulnerability?17. Loic Sadoulet: Learning from VisaRG? Incorporating Insurance Provisions in Microfinance Contracts18. Jerry Skees, Panos Varangis, Donald Larson and Paul Siegel: Can Financial Markets be Tapped to Help Poor People Cope with Weather Risks?Conclusion19. Stefan Dercon: Risk, Poverty, and Public Action

Editorial Reviews

`The micro-level studies that underpin this book offers new insights on how effective public action could be more effective in protecting the vulnerable against persistent poverty.'Oxfam Development Resources Review