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A Dark Side of Social Capital? Kinship, Consumption, and Savings

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  • Salvatore di Falco
  • Erwin Bulte

Abstract

We explore whether traditional sharing norms in kinship networks affect consumption and accumulation decisions of poor black households in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Using a proxy for the number of family dependents, our results are consistent with the interpretation that households try to evade their ‘sharing obligations’ by (i) accumulating durables that are non-sharable at the expense of durables that may be shared and (ii) reducing savings in liquid assets. By attenuating accumulation incentives, kinship sharing may come at the expense of income growth -- if so, a culturally-induced poverty trap can possibly eventuate. We demonstrate tentative evidence that more extensive kinship networks are associated with lower incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Salvatore di Falco & Erwin Bulte, 2011. "A Dark Side of Social Capital? Kinship, Consumption, and Savings," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(8), pages 1128-1151, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:8:p:1128-1151
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.514328
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    Cited by:

    1. Baland, Jean-Marie & Bonjean, Isabelle & Guirkinger, Catherine & Ziparo, Roberta, 2016. "The economic consequences of mutual help in extended families," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 38-56.
    2. 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.
    3. Jean-Marie Nkongolo-Bakenda & Elie Chrysostome, 2013. "Engaging diasporas as international entrepreneurs in developing countries: In search of determinants," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 30-64, March.
    4. Huu Chi Nguyen & Christophe Nordman, 2014. "Household entrepreneurship and social networks:panel data evidence from Vietnam," Working Papers DT/2014/22, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    5. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2017. "Intra-household resource allocation and familial ties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 109-132.
    6. Carolina Laureti, 2015. "The Debt Puzzle in Dhaka’s Slums: Do Poor People Co-hold for Liquidity Needs?," Working Papers CEB 15-021, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Hailemariam Teklewold & Menale Kassie & Bekele Shiferaw, 2013. "Adoption of Multiple Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 597-623, September.
    8. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2015. "Norms of Allocation within Nuclear and Extended-Family Households," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205534, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    9. Dupas, Pascaline & Keats, Anthony & Robinson, Jonathan, 2015. "The Effect of Savings Accounts on Interpersonal Financial Relationships: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 10689, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Niaz Asadullah & Zaki Wahhaj, 2016. "Early Marriage, Social Networks and the Transmission of Norms," Studies in Economics 1602, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    11. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:4:p:827-846 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Ndiritu, S. Wagura & Kassie, Menale & Shiferaw, Bekele, 2014. "Are there systematic gender differences in the adoption of sustainable agricultural intensification practices? Evidence from Kenya," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 117-127.
    13. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioral Perspective on Product Design in Microfinance," Working Papers CEB 15-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Varma, Poornima, 2017. "Adoption of System of Rice Intensification and its Impact on Rice Yields and Household Income: An Analysis for India," IIMA Working Papers WP2017-02-03, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    15. Haagsma, Rein & Mouche, Pierre v., 2013. "Egalitarian norms, economic development, and ethnic polarization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 719-744.
    16. Kassie, Menale & Jaleta, Moti & Shiferaw, Bekele & Mmbando, Frank & Mekuria, Mulugetta, 2013. "Adoption of interrelated sustainable agricultural practices in smallholder systems: Evidence from rural Tanzania," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 525-540.
    17. Zhang, Yanlong & Zhou, Xiaoyu & Lei, Wei, 2017. "Social Capital and Its Contingent Value in Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Western China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 350-361.
    18. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14463 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Tesfamicheal Wossen & Thomas Berger & Salvatore Di Falco, 2015. "Social capital, risk preference and adoption of improved farm land management practices in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(1), pages 81-97, January.
    20. Rhona F. Barr & Salvatore Di Falco & Susana Mourato, 2011. "Income diversification, social capital and their potential role in uptake of marine Payments for Environmental Services schemes: a study from a Tanzanian fishing community," GRI Working Papers 65, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    21. D’Exelle, Ben & Lecoutere, Els & Van Campenhout, Bjorn, 2012. "Equity-Efficiency Trade-Offs in Irrigation Water Sharing: Evidence from a Field Lab in Rural Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 2537-2551.

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