A growing number of studies in finance and economics seek to explain insurance choices using the assumptions advanced by behavioral economics. One recent example in agricultural economics is the use of cumulative prospect theory (CPT) to explain farmer choices regarding crop insurance coverage levels (Babcock, 2015). We build upon this framework by deriving willingness to pay (WTP) for insurance programs under alternative assumptions, thus extending the model to incorporate farmer decisions regarding whether or not to purchase insurance. Our contribution is twofold. First, we study the sensitivity of farmer WTP for crop insurance to the inclusion of CPT parameters. We find that loss aversion and probability distortion increase WTP for insurance while risk aversion decreases it. Probability distortion in losses plays a particularly important role. Second, we study the impact of yield distribution skewness on farmer WTP assuming CPT preferences. We find that WTP decreases when the distribution of yields moves from negatively- to positively-skewed and that the combined effect of probability weighting in losses and skewness has a large negative impact on farmer WTP for crop insurance.
On the role of probability weighting on WTP for crop insurance with and without yield skewness
2 May 2018