Bridging the Gender Divide: An Experimental Analysis of Group Formation in African Villages
Assorting on gender is casually observed in developing countries and is now systematically built into many group-oriented development interventions. In this paper we explore the mechanisms underlying the emergent gender assorting, using an experiment in which African villagers could form groups to share risk. We exogenously varied the extent to which grouping arrangements were enforced and, hence, the importance of trust and social enforcement as supports for group formation. Gender assorting was significant and considerable when grouping was perfectly enforced or depended on social enforcement. There was significantly less gender assorting when grouping depended on trust. Exploratory analysis suggests that this reduction in gender assorting may be owing to family ties and co-memberships in gender-mixed religions.
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