Growing Apart: Declining Within- and Across-Locality Insurance in Rural China
55 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2022 Last revised: 18 Jun 2022
Date Written: June 2022
We consider risk sharing in rural China during its rapid economic transformation from the late 1980s through the late 2000s. We document an erosion of consumption insurance against both household-level idiosyncratic and village-level aggregate income shocks, and show that this decline is related to observable economic changes: the shift from agriculture to wage employment, the decline of publicly owned Township-and-Village Enterprises, and increased migrant work. Further evidence suggests that as these changes took place at the village level, higher levels of government failed to offset these effects through the tax-and-transfer system, leaving households more exposed to both idiosyncratic and village-aggregate risk.
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