Farmers’ crop insurance perception and participation decisions: empirical evidence from Hunan, China

Abstract

The measurement of risk perception and risk attitudes, and their link to actual risk behaviors have been extensively discussed. However, the potential impact of perception of risk management instruments on the decision to use those instruments has rarely been addressed. This article hypothesizes that the degree of perception of insurance contracts and participation decisions could have substantial mutual influence depending on the development of the market. An empirical work is carried out based on a survey of data for paddy rice farmers in Hunan Province, China. It shows that the sampled farmers’ crop insurance perception was surprisingly low despite years of pilot programs and tens of billions of expenditure in government subsidies. The result of simultaneous equations model indicates that crop insurance perception and participation are simultaneously determined and mutually improving. Moreover, empirical evidence indicates that the impact of crop insurance participation on perception is slightly stronger than that of perception on participation, and thus provides weak evidence of a ‘learning-by-doing’ stage in China at present. Together with evidence of substantial local disparities in perception, implications for the Chinese government in further cultivating the crop and rural insurance market are discussed.

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