Propagation and Insurance in Village Networks


Speaker:Cynthia Kinnan, Tufts University
Date: Friday 26 March 2021
Time: 14.00
Location: Online via Zoom (link available from

Further details

In village economies, while insurance networks are key to smoothing shocks, production networks can propagate shocks. We show that a significant health expenditure shock to one household propagates to other linked households via supply-chain and labor networks. Imperfectly insured households adjust production decisions---cutting input spending and reducing labor hiring---affecting households with whom they trade inputs and labor. Household businesses proximate to shocked households in the supply chain network experience reduced local sales, and those proximate in the labor network experience a lower probability of working locally. As a result, indirectly shocked households’ earnings and consumption fall. These declines persist over several years: households appear unable to form new linkages when existing links experience negative shocks. A simple back-of-the-envelope exercise suggests that the total magnitude of indirect effects may be larger than the direct effects and that social (village-level) gains from expanding safety nets such as health insurance may be substantially higher than private (household-level) gains.