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.
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This is a pre-copy edited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the European Review of Economic History following peer review. The version of record is available online at: http://ereh.oxfordjournals.org/content/20/2/147.