IFPRI Gender Methods Seminar: Managing Risk with Insurance and Savings: Experimental Evidence for Male and Female Farm Managers in West Africa

A young boy rakes away crop covers in land affected by wind erosion (Senegal). Photo: Milo Mitchell. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Image)

A young boy rakes away crop covers in land affected by wind erosion (Senegal). Photo: Milo Mitchell. Source: Flickr (IFPRI Image)

Presented by Clara Delavallade, Research Fellow, IFPRI Markets, Trades, and Institutions Department

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The screencast of this event is available here, and the Powerpoint presentation here.

Abstract: Despite growing policy interest in offering financial products to help rural households manage risk, the literature is still scant as to which products are the most effective. This paper uses a randomized field experiment in Senegal and Burkina Faso to compare farmers offered either index-based agricultural insurance or a variety of savings instruments. Female farmers were less likely to purchase agricultural insurance and more likely to invest in savings for emergencies, even controlling for access to informal insurance and differences in crop choice. This may result from the fact that the basis risk associated with agricultural insurance products is higher for women. Purchasing insurance increased input spending and use more than savings. Those who purchased more insurance realized higher average yields and were better able to manage food insecurity and shocks. This suggests that gender differences in demand for financial products can have an impact on productivity, resilience, and welfare.

Presenter's Bio: Clara Delavallade joined IFPRI in January 2013 as a Research Fellow. She is also an Associate Professor (on leave) at the University of Cape Town where she worked between 2010 and 2012. She was Executive Director of J-PAL South Asia between 2008 and 2010. Clara received her PhD in Economics from the University Paris Sorbonne in 2007. She has lived and worked in India, South Africa and several West African countries. Most of her research derives from randomized field experiments in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently studying various incentive-based and monitoring mechanisms improving service delivery in TB control and school-feeding programs. She is also interested in human capital formation through innovative education techniques and life skills programs in India. Another set of her research investigates risk management (through weather and health insurance and savings) with a gender focus.

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