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The Role of Polygyny in the Intrahousehold Efficiency of Agricultural Production in West Africa

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  • Anyck Dauphin

Abstract

Polygyny is an institution with deep roots in West Africa. Many papers have attempted to explain the rationality and persistence of this phenomenon through time. Less effort has been devoted to studying the effect of polygyny on household economic behavior. This question is policy relevant given the pressure underway to eliminate polygyny. This paper provides new empirical evidence on whether polygyny leads to an improvement or a worsening of intra-household efficiency for three countries with high levels of polygyny: Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal. The evidence we obtain is mixed. In Benin, polygyny does not seem to have an impact on intra-household efficiency, while it appears, in the longer run, to improve it in Burkina Faso, but to decrease it in Senegal.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1323.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1323

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Keywords: Polygyny; Efficiency; Agriculture; Africa;

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  1. 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.
  2. Akresh, Richard & Chen, Joyce J. & Moore, Charity, 2011. "Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households," IZA Discussion Papers 6265, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  4. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
  5. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 938-71, October.
  6. Nava Ashraf, 2009. "Spousal Control and Intra-household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1245-77, September.
  7. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1993. "Sequential Labor Decisions under Uncertainty: An Estimable Household Model of West-African Farmers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1173-97, September.
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