Funeral insurance: An inter-generational commitment device?

Erlend Berg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


Funeral insurance is a global phenomenon that has existed throughout history and remains hugely popular in Africa today. Yet as a distinct financial device it has received little attention. The question is why it seems, in many contexts, to be preferred over standard life insurance even though the latter is a more flexible product. This paper presents a simple model in which funeral insurance differs from life insurance in that there is a constraint on how the payout is spent. Funeral insurance can therefore serve as an intergenerational commitment device. The model's key prediction is consistent with South African household data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-346
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of African Economies
Issue number3
Early online date22 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics


  • Commitment device
  • Funeral insurance
  • Insurance demand
  • Life insurance


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