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Risk Insurance in a Transition Economy: Evidence from Rural Romania

21 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2007  

Delphine M. Irac

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Camelia Minoiu

International Monetary Fund (IMF); University of Pennsylvania - Management Department; University of Pennsylvania - Wharton Financial Institutions Center

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Abstract

The hypothesis of Pareto-optimal risk-sharing is tested in a transition economy using a new dataset of a representative sample of 364 rural households from Romania. Income shocks are identified as instances of adverse weather, crop failure, animal diseases, illness, and unemployment spells. Despite limited participation of Romanian rural households in formal insurance and credit markets, we fail to reject the hypothesis of full insurance of total non-durable consumption and its components. Survey responses indicate that the main channels of consumption smoothing are self-insurance (for adverse weather, crop failure and animal diseases), public transfers (for unemployment spells, maternity and childcare), and to a lesser extent, family ties. We find that adverse weather is associated with higher growth rates of non-food expenditures. Furthermore, richer households are better able to cope with crop failure than poorer households. An alternative explanation to our not rejecting the hypothesis of full insurance is that some shocks to consumption (such as illness) play the role of preference shifters of the utility function.

Suggested Citation

Irac, Delphine M. and Minoiu, Camelia, Risk Insurance in a Transition Economy: Evidence from Rural Romania. Economics of Transition, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 153-173, January 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=968804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0351.2007.00275.x

Delphine M. Irac (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Camelia Minoiu

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

1700 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC USA 20431
United States
2026239731 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/minoiucamelia/

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

University of Pennsylvania - Wharton Financial Institutions Center ( email )

2306 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2026830807 (Phone)

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