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Intra-household efficiency: An experimental study from Ethiopia

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  • Bereket Kebede

Abstract

Using data from experimental games and household survey from 1,200 married couples in three sites in Ethiopia, this paper 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-household 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 initial 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 their actual contribution.� These systematic errors in expectations imply that the attainment of 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 results cast doubt on cooperative models and provide some support for behaviour guided either by fairness or other norms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2011-01.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:csae-wps/2011-01

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Keywords: Household efficiency; intra-household models; experimental games; Ethiopia;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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  8. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-96, December.
  9. Vegard Iversen & Cecile Jackson & Bereket Kebede & Alistair Munro & Arjan Verschoor, 2006. "What`s love got to do with it? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2006-01, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  12. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
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  14. Cochard, François & Couprie, Hélène & Hopfensitz, Astrid, 2009. "Do Spouses Cooperate? And If Not: Why?," TSE Working Papers 09-134, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  15. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  16. 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.
  17. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Shakespeare vs. Becker on Altruism: The Importance of Having the Last Word," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 500-502, June.
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  20. 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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Cited by:
  1. 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..
  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 & 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.

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