UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Julian Arteaga, University of California, Davis
Michael R Carter, University of California, Davis
Andrew Hobbs, University of San Francisco

Reformulating Index Insurance to Protect Women’s Assets and Well-being: Evidence from Pastoralist Communities in Kenya

Date and Location

Tuesday, October 31, 2023, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


The novel insurance contracts for crop losses and livestock mortality that have been developed in low income countries typically protect against shocks in the male sphere of economic activity. Often overlooked are women, the particularities of their indirect exposure to this risk, and their socially constructed responsibility to manage family well-being. To fill this lacuna, this paper studies the effect of a low-cost intervention that reformulates a livestock insurance contract so that it directly addresses women's risk and is sold in units that are commensurate with women's expenditure responsibilities. We measure the effect of this contractual reformulation using a randomized trial amongst pastoralist communities in Kenya. Twenty-four percent of previously subsidized households that received the novel contractual formulation purchased insurance (without subsidy), compared to only 13\% of previously subsidized households offered insurance under the standard male-risk formulation. Households that had not received prior insurance subsidies purchased no insurance, irrespective of the framing. Protecting women, their assets and those who depend on them will require a combination of smart subsidies and gender-intentional insurance contract design.

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