Economics at your fingertips  

Background risk, insurance and investment behaviour: Experimental evidence from Kenya

Renate Strobl

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2022, vol. 202, issue C, 34-68

Abstract: We study in a lab experiment with slum dwellers in Nairobi whether background risk induces ex ante risk-avoiding behaviour. We find that risk-averse subjects choose indeed less risky, profitable investments when background risk is present. However, relaxing these risk constraints by the provision of insurance has no effect (free insurance) or even a negative impact (fair insurance) on risk taking. We find suggestive evidence that these unexpected results are driven by imperfect understanding of insurance and experience effects. Moreover, constantly low investment under fair insurance suggests a dampening effect of the certain premium that dominates the positive risk-reducing effect of insurance. Our results imply that providing poor households with instruments that facilitate the handling of background risk is important to encourage entrepreneurial risk taking. However, insurance might not be the optimal policy in the short term, since it may, if not sufficiently understood or valued, even reduce willingness to invest compared to the status quo.

Keywords: Risk taking; Investment behaviour; Background risk; Insurance; Kenya; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D01 D81 I13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.07.010

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

More articles in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2023-02-18
Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:202:y:2022:i:c:p:34-68