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Failing in the FieldWhat We Can Learn When Field Research Goes Wrong$
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Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183138

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183138.001.0001

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Bundling Credit and Insurance

Bundling Credit and Insurance

Turns Out More Is Less

(p.125) Chapter 11 Bundling Credit and Insurance
Failing in the Field

Dean Karlan

Jacob Appel

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses a study conducted with SKS Microfinance and insurer ICICI-Lombard where the researchers added a mandatory health insurance policy to SKS microloans to test the theory that bundling policies with other products creates a viable pool of clients for insurers. SKS's bundling of insurance with microloans proved so problematic that, at the end of the day, there were not enough insured clients for researchers to study the impact of getting insurance on health experience or financial performance. The obvious failure here is low participation after randomization. The deeper question is why low participation became an issue. This points to two contributing failures. First, there was a partner organization burden around learning new skills. The second contributing failure can be traced all the way back to the project's inception. Before the study began, SKS had never bundled insurance with its loans. In terms of research setting, they were dealing with an immature product.

Keywords:   health insurance policy, microloans, insurance, low participation, randomization, partner organization, research setting, immature product

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