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The lion’s share. An experimental analysis of polygamy in Northern Nigeria

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Author Info

  • Alistair Munro

    (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)

  • Bereket Kebede

    (School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia)

  • Marcela Tarazona-Gomez

    (School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia)

  • Arjan Verschoor

    (School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia)

Abstract

Using samples of polygamous and non-polygamous households from villages in rural areas south of Kano, Northern Nigeria we test basic theories of household behaviour. Husbands and wives play two variants of a voluntary contributions game in which endowments are private knowledge, but contributions are public. In one variant, the common pool is split equally. In the other treatment the husband allocates the pool (and wives are forewarned of this). Most partners keep back at least half of their endowment from the common pool, but we find no evidence that polygynous households are less efficient than their monogamous counterparts. We also reject a strong form of Bergstrom’s model of polygyny in which all wives receive an equal allocation. In our case, senior wives often receive more from their husbands, no matter what their contribution. Thus the return to contributions is higher for senior wives compared to their junior counterparts. When they control the allocation, polygynous men receive a higher payoff than their monogamous counterparts. We speculate on the implications of this pattern of investment and reward for the sustainability of polygynous institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in its series GRIPS Discussion Papers with number 10-27.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ngi:dpaper:10-27

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Keywords: Polygyny; Polygamy; Experiment; Household; Nigeria;

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References

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  1. Avi Simhon & Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav, 2005. "The Mystery of Monogamy," 2005 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 370, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Peter Kuhn & Jacques Robert, 1988. "Seniority and Distribution in a Two-Worker Trade Union," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 615, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Kazianga, Harounan & Klonner, Stefan, 2009. "The Intra-household Economics of Polygyny: Fertility and Child Mortality in Rural Mali," MPRA Paper 12859, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, 04.
  5. Biorn, Erik, 2004. "Regression systems for unbalanced panel data: a stepwise maximum likelihood procedure," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 281-291, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bereket Kebede, 2011. "Intra-household efficiency: An experimental study from Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2011-01, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Holden, Stein & Bezu, Sosina, 2014. "Are Wives less Selfish than their Husbands? Evidence from Hawk-Dove Game Field Experiments," CLTS Working Papers, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences 3/14, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
  3. Julia Anna Matz, 2011. "Productivity, Rank and Returns in Polygamy," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series, IIIS iiisdp390, IIIS, revised Jul 2012.
  4. 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), School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 11-02, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  5. Lépine, Aurélia & Strobl, Eric, 2013. "The Effect of Women’s Bargaining Power on Child Nutrition in Rural Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 17-30.

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