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Intra-household efficiency; An experimental study from Ethiopia

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  • Bereket Kebede
  • Marcela Tarazona
  • Alistair Munro
  • Arjan Verschoor

Abstract

Using data from experimental games and household survey from 1, 200 married couples in three sites in Ethipoia, this paer uses different versions of a voluntary contribution mechanism to test for household efficiency. The experimental and econometric analyses provide many interesting results that have far-reaching implications for intra-houisehold models. Efficiency in contribution behaviour is decisively rejected in all treatments casting doubt on 'unitary' and 'collective' household models that assume Pareto optimality - significant amounts of potential surplus are not realised. Contribution rates by males and females are not significantly different from each other undermining models that argue females tend to contribute more to the family (for example, Sen 1990). Information on itital endowments of spouses improves contribution rates (efficiency) in some treatments while not having effect in others suggesting that the effect of information is context dependent. Actual and expected contribution rates of spouses are systematically different; husbands' expect their wives will contribute more than their actual contributions and wives expect their husbands will contribute lower than actual contribution. These systematic errors in expectations imply that the attainment if equilibrium in a game theoretic framework is unlikely. Statistical tests indicate that instead of efficiency considerations other norms are likely important. For example, in many of the treatments spouses contributed around half of their endowments implying either a norm like fairness or focal points influence decisions. Overall, most of the empirical resulst cast doubt on cooperative models and provide some support for behaviour guided either by farirness or other norms.

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File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/csae-wps-2011-01.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2011-01.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2011-01

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Keywords: household efficiency; intra-household models; experiemental games; ethiopia;

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References

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  1. Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Vegard Iversen & Cecile Jackson & Arjan Verschoor, 2006. "What’s love got to do with it ? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 06/01, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Feb 2006.
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  3. Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Marcela Tarazona-Gomez & Arjan Verschoor, . "Autonomy or efficiency: An experiment on household decisions in two regions of India," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 11-02, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  4. Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Marcela Tarazona-Gomez & Arjan Verschoor, 2010. "The lion’s share. An experimental analysis of polygamy in Northern Nigeria," GRIPS Discussion Papers 10-27, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
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  18. Iversen, Vegard & Jackson, Cecile & Kebede, Bereket & Munro, Alistair & Verschoor, Arjan, 2011. "Do Spouses Realise Cooperative Gains? Experimental Evidence from Rural Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 569-578, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Alistair Munro & Danail Popov, 2013. "A portmanteau experiment on the relevance of individual decision anomalies for households," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 335-348, September.
  2. Holden, Stein & Bezu, Sosina, 2013. "Joint Land Certification and Intra-household Decision-making:Towards Empowerment of Wives?," CLTS Working Papers 14/13, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
  3. Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Marcela Tarazona-Gomez & Arjan Verschoor, . "Autonomy or efficiency: An experiment on household decisions in two regions of India," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 11-02, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..

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