Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Social Networks and the Decision to Insure

Cai, Jing and de Janvry, Alain and Sadoulet, Elisabeth (2013): Social Networks and the Decision to Insure.

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Abstract

Using data from a randomized experiment in rural China, this paper studies the influence of social networks on weather insurance adoption and the mechanisms through which social networks operate. To quantify network effects, the experiment offers intensive information sessions about the insurance product to a random subset of farmers. For untreated farmers, the effect of having an additional treated friend on take-up is equivalent to granting a 15% reduction in the insurance premium. By varying the information available about peers’ decisions and using randomized default options, the experiment shows that the network effect is driven by the diffusion of insurance knowledge rather than purchase decisions.

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