Risk preference or financial literacy? Behavioural experiment on index insurance demand

Yesuf Awel & Théophile T. Azomahou


We use unique cross-sectional household data from Ethiopia to investigate the effect of risk preference, financial literacy and other socio-economic characteristics on demand for index insurance. We measure risk preference based on survey experiments using lottery choice game with real monetary prizes. First, we find no evidence of risk aversion on demand for index insurance. Second, we find positive impact of financial literacy on purchasing insurance. Third, relaxing liquidity constraint enhance the take-up of insurance. Finally, demographic and village characteristics have little role in the decision to uptake insurance. These findings have implications on product design and marketing strategies. The product design should focus on ways that better account for liquidity constraint of the household. Interventions that strengthen efforts in provision of financial literacy programmes are worthy. Our results are robust to changes in specification and estimation method.

JEL Classification: D14; D81; G2; G22; O16

Keywords: Risk aversion; financial literacy; weather index insurance; lottery choice game; Ethiopia

Download the working paper