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Taking it in turn: an experimental test of theories of the household

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  • Munro, Alistair
  • McNally, Tara
  • Popov, Danail

Abstract

Using a sample of established couples, we conduct an experiment on household decision-making. Individual partners first make a series of dichotomous choices between household goods and vouchers for experiences and then the couple jointly face the same choices. A random lottery device is used to incentivize the decisions. We find clear evidence of turn-taking as a method of resolving disagreements. In other words, when one partner wins one disputed question, it raises the probability that the other partner wins the next dispute. Given the arbitrary order of the questions this suggests that standard decision-theoretic models of household behaviour are inadequate and that instead, much behaviour might be concerned with relationship maintenance rather than the allocation of goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8976.

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Date of creation: 15 May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8976

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Keywords: experiment; household choice; turn-taking; invariance; marriage; family;

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References

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  1. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro, 2005. "An Experiment on Risky Choice Amongst Households," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages C176-C189, 03.
  2. Zhiqi Chen & Frances Woolley, 1999. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Carleton Economic Papers, Carleton University, Department of Economics 99-13, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2001.
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  4. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.
  5. Messick, David M., 1999. "Alternative logics for decision making in social settings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 11-28, May.
  6. Davis, Harry L, 1976. " Decision Making within the Household," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 241-60, March.
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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, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 335-348, September.

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