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Do spouses realise cooperative gains? Experimental evidence from rural Uganda

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Author Info

  • Vegard Iversen

    (University of Manchester)

  • Cecile Jackson

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Bereket Kebede

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Alistair Munro

    (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan)

  • Arjan Verschoor

    (University of East Anglia)

Abstract

Intra-household efficiency is tested by using experimental data from variants of a public good game from 240 couples in rural Uganda. Spouses frequently do not maximise surplus from cooperation and realise a greater surplus when women are in charge of allocating the common pool. Women contribute less than men. These results cast doubts on many models of household decision making including unitary and collective models and on Sen's (1990) conjecture of greater female identification with household interests. We also find strong evidence for opportunism, where spouses don't contribute to the common pool even when they are in control of its allocation. Experimental results are correlated with some socio-economic conditions in a manner suggesting that assortative matching improves household efficiency. The development of non-cooperative intra-household models that allow in their empirical implementation for sensitivity to the context-specificity of gender relations seems to be a promising direction for future research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) with number 10-02.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:10-02

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Keywords: household behaviour; cooperation; gender; experiments; Africa; Uganda;

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References

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  1. Munro, Alistair & Bateman, Ian J. & McNally, Tara, 2008. "The family under the microscope: an experiment testing economic models of household choice," MPRA Paper 8974, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Steven J. Humphrey & Arjan Verschoor, 2004. "Decision-making Under Risk among Small Farmers in East Uganda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(1), pages 44-101, March.
  3. Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009. "Public Economics and the Household," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284, October.
  4. Browning, M. & Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P.A. & Lechene, V., 1992. "Incomes and Outcomes: A structural Model of Intra-Household Allocation," DELTA Working Papers 92-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Browning, M. & Chiappori, P.A., 1994. "Efficient Intra-Household allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," DELTA Working Papers 94-16, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  6. Phipps, Shelley A & Burton, Peter S, 1998. "What's Mine Is Yours? The Influence of Male and Female Incomes on Patterns of Household Expenditure," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 599-613, November.
  7. Peter Moffatt & Simon Peters, 2001. "Testing for the Presence of a Tremble in Economic Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 221-228, December.
  8. T. Paul Schultz, 1990. "Testing the Neoclassical Model of Family Labor Supply and Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 599-634.
  9. Frances Woolley, 2000. "Control over Money in Marriage," Carleton Economic Papers 00-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2003.
  10. 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.
  11. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  12. Basu, Kaushik, 2001. "Gender and Say: A Model of Household Behavior with Endogenously-Determined Balance of Power," Working Papers 01-01, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  13. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  14. H. Elizabeth Peters & A. Sinan Unur & Jeremy Clark & William D. Schulze, 2004. "Free-Riding and the Provision of Public Goods in the Family: A Laboratory Experiment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 283-299, 02.
  15. 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.
  16. Cecile Jackson, 2009. "Researching the Researched: Gender, Reflexivity and Actor-Orientation in an Experimental Game," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(5), pages 772-791, December.
  17. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
  18. Norman Frohlich & Joe Oppenheimer & Anja Kurki, 2004. "Modeling Other-Regarding Preferences and an Experimental Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 91-117, 04.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Munro, Alistair & Verschoor, Arjan & Dubey, Amaresh, 2013. "Does working with spouses make teams more productive? A field experiment in India using NREGA," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 506-508.
  2. 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.
  3. Miriam Beblo & Denis Beninger, 2012. "Do husbands and wives pool their incomes? Experimental evidence," Working Papers of BETA 2012-10, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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