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Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households

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  • Ambler, Kate

Abstract

Although most theoretical models of household decision making assume perfect information, empirical studies suggest that information asymmetries can have large impacts on resource allocation. I demonstrate the importance of these asymmetries in transnational households, where physical distance between family members can make information barriers especially acute. I implement an experiment among migrants in Washington, DC, and their families in El Salvador that examines how information asymmetries can have strategic and inadvertent impacts on remittance decisions. Migrants make an incentivized decision over how much of a cash windfall to remit, and recipients decide how they will spend a remittance. Migrants strategically send home less when their choice is not revealed to recipients. Recipients make spending choices closer to migrants' preferences when the migrants' preferences are shared, regardless of whether or not the spending choices are revealed to the migrants, suggesting that recipients' choices are inadvertently affected by imperfect information.

Suggested Citation

  • Ambler, Kate, 2015. "Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 52-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:113:y:2015:i:c:p:52-69
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2014.11.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. repec:wly:econjl:v:126:y:2016:i:598:p:2424-2445 is not listed on IDEAS
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    4. Murard, Elie, 2016. "Consumption and Leisure: The Welfare Impact of Migration on Family Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 10305, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    7. Genicot, Garance, 2016. "Two-sided altruism and signaling," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 92-97.
    8. Catia Batista & Gaia Narciso, 2018. "Migrant Remittances and Information Flows: Evidence from a Field Experiment," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(1), pages 203-219.
    9. Ligon, Ethan & Schechter, Laura, 2017. "Structural experimentation to distinguish between models of risk sharing with frictions in rural Paraguay," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9891t8g3, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    10. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2015. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 207-232, April.
    11. De Arcangelis, Giuseppe & Joxhe, Majlinda & McKenzie, David & Tiongson, Erwin & Yang, Dean, 2015. "Directing remittances to education with soft and hard commitments: Evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment and new product take-up among Filipino migrants in Rome," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 197-208.
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    13. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Rohorua, Halahingano & Stillman, Steven, 2019. "The long-term impact of international migration on economic decision-making: Evidence from a migration lottery and lab-in-the-field experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 99-115.
    14. repec:eee:wdevel:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:212-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Maria Porter & Abi Adams, 2016. "For Love or Reward? Characterising Preferences for Giving to Parents in an Experimental Setting," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(598), pages 2424-2445, December.

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