In developing societies, in the absence of formal insurance markets, when a household faces a catastrophic financial shock, are they left completely on their own? In this Independent Study thesis, I argue that these households have an informal insurance arrangement amongst themselves in which "current generosity is justified by future reciprocity" (Coate & Ravallion, 1993). Assuming that the income endowments of the households follow a memoryless stochastic Markov process, I argue that a risky environment where a financial catastrophe is always around the corner for any household makes these households continue to participate in this income-sharing arrangement. Developing a model of informal insurance using Markov chains and running a numerical simulation, I show that the stability of such an arrangement dependent only on the extent to which the present generation values the future alongside their degree of risk aversion and the severity of a possible catastrophe.


Moledina, Amyaz

Second Advisor

Hartman, Jim


Economics; Mathematics


Economic Theory | Other Applied Mathematics


insurance, Markov chain, developing

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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