How do Women Weather Economic Shocks?

A new paper from the World Bank explores what we know about how women weather economic shocks. Here’s the main result:

In the past, women from low-income households have typically entered the labor force, while women from high-income households have often exited the labor market in response to economic crises. Evidence also suggests that women defer fertility during economic crises and that child schooling and child survival are adversely affected, mainly in low-income countries, with girls suffering more adverse health effects than boys.

Papers like this can go a long way toward providing the foundation for the case for insurance. It has nothing to do with insurance per see—just about the inability to cope with risk and the consequence of that. The paper is about economic shocks—which may NOT be insurable. But to the extent they are, this is worth a look. Here is the paper’s bottom line, and it makes sense:

"These impacts underscore the need for providing income to women in poor countries to help households better cope with the effects of economic shocks."

The question is whether you can substitute the word “insurance” for “income”?