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Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households

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Author Info

  • Akresh, Richard

    ()
    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Chen, Joyce J.

    ()
    (Ohio State University)

  • Moore, Charity

    ()
    (Ohio State University)

Abstract

Altruism among family members can, in some cases, inhibit cooperation by increasing the utility that players expect to receive in a non-cooperative equilibrium. To test this, we examine agricultural productivity in polygynous households in West Africa. We find that cooperation is greater – production is more efficient – among co-wives than among husbands and wives because co-wives are less altruistic towards each other. The results are not driven by scale effects or self-selection into polygyny. Nor can they be explained by greater propensity for cooperation among women generally or by the household head acting as an enforcement mechanism for others' cooperative agreements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6265.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6265

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Keywords: altruism; non-cooperative behavior; household bargaining; polygyny; Africa;

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References

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  1. Cheryl R. Doss & John G. McPeak, 2005. "Are Household Production Decisions Cooperative? Evidence on Pastoral Migration and Milk Sales from Northern Kenya," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 906, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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  3. Harounan Kazianga & Zaki Wahhaj, 2013. "Gender, Social Norms, and Household Production in Burkina Faso," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(3), pages 539 - 576.
  4. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
  5. Dubois, Pierre & Ligon, Ethan A., 2010. "Nutrition and Risk Sharing within the Household," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley qt2td8z1g3, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  6. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
  7. Peterman, Amber & Quisumbing, Agnes & Behrman, Julia & Nkonya, Ephraim, 2010. "Understanding gender differences in agricultural productivity in Uganda and Nigeria," IFPRI discussion papers 1003, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Harounan Kazianga & Stefan Klonner, 2009. "The Intra-household Economics of Polygyny: Fertility and Child Mortality in Rural Mali," Economics Working Paper Series 0902, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
  9. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  11. Michael Kevane & Leslie Gray, 1999. "A Woman's Field Is Made At Night: Gendered Land Rights And Norms In Burkina Faso," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 1-26.
  12. Richard Akresh & Joyce J. Chen & Charity T. Moore, 2012. "Productive Efficiency and the Scope for Cooperation in Polygynous Households," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 395-401.
  13. Gustavo J. Bobonis, 2009. "Is the Allocation of Resources within the Household Efficient? New Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 453-503, 06.
  14. Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1996. "Male-female differences in agricultural productivity: Methodological issues and empirical evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1579-1595, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Anyck Dauphin, 2013. "The Role of Polygyny in the Intrahousehold Efficiency of Agricultural Production in West Africa," Cahiers de recherche 1323, CIRPEE.
  2. Chen, Joyce J. & Collins, LaPorchia, 2013. "Let’s Talk About the Money: Spousal Communication, Expenditures and Farm Production," 2014 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2014, Philadelphia, PA, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 161652, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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