The impact of farm-level variables on federal crop insurance coverage level selection
Boyd, Mark Weiderspon
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This thesis evaluates the significance of farm-level variables related to cash flow on coverage level selections as a potential explanation for the well-documented behavioral anomaly in producers' federal crop insurance coverage level selection choices. The current crop insurance literature appears to lack a clear explanation of why producers choose to insure at lower or less than economically optimal coverage levels. To inform this question, the relationship between liquidity factors and insurance coverage level selection are estimated empirically using linear and fixed effects models with data from the Agricultural Resource Management Survey, Risk Management Agency Summary of Business, and the Risk Management Agency Actuarial Data Master. Specifically, this research endeavors to evaluate the associations between variables related to cash flow and coverage level selection, as well as isolate the effect of premium rates on coverage selection, in order to provide evidence that constrained cash flow may be the reason for the appearance of nonutility maximization in coverage level selection. The results indicate that variables directly related to cash flow such as higher costs are associated with significant differences in coverage level selection, though the direction of the association is dependent on the type of costs, whether fixed or variable, while higher revenue higher acreage farms insure at higher coverage levels. In addition, higher premium costs are associated with lower coverage level selection, despite subsidy incentives indicating expected cash flow plays a significant role in coverage level decisions.