Immigration and the demand for life insurance: evidence from Canada, 1911

Alan de Bromhead, Karol Jan Borowiecki

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This article analyses the determinants of the demand for life insurance using sample data from the 1911 Census of Canada. We find that immigrants' demand for life insurance was on average around 13 percentage points lower than that of native-born Canadians, with the effect varying by province of settlement. We interpret these findings as evidence suggesting a greater appetite for risk among self-selecting immigrants relative to native-born Canadians. We also uncover evidence of a slow assimilation of immigrants in terms of life insurance holdings, slower indeed than the process of assimilation in terms of earnings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-175
JournalEuropean Review of Economic History
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2016


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