The Spillover Impact of Index Insurance on Agricultural Investment by Cotton Farmers in Burkina Faso
32 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2020 Last revised: 26 Oct 2022
Date Written: July 2020
This paper examines whether agricultural insurance can boost investment by small scale farmers in West Africa. We conduct a randomized evaluation to analyze the impacts of index insurance for cotton farmers in Burkina Faso. We find no impact of insurance on cotton, but, consistent with microeconomic theory, we find significant spillover impacts on investment in other agricultural activities. Furthermore, the effects of insurance payouts on farmers hit by a shock confirm the potential of index insurance as a risk-management tool. However, we uncover important flaws in the implementation of the project that limited its impacts. Overall, this study suggests a promising role of index insurance for stimulating investment, but also draws attention to key challenges for an efficient delivery of insurance to small farmers. Finally, the hybrid, mixed methods RCT design that we employ offers lessons for the evaluation of complex interventions where trust, understanding and timing are all important.
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