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

Cole S, D Stein, Tobacman J,


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.


Journal Article

Thematic Area

Financial Well-being and Social Protection