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Ties that Bind: The Kin System as a Mechanism of Income-Hiding between Spouses in Rural Ghana

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  • Castilla, Carolina

Abstract

I present a simple model of intra-household allocation between spouses to show that when the quantity of resources available to the household is not perfectly observed by both spouses, hiding of income can occur even when revelation of the additional resources increases bargaining power. From the model, a test to identify income hiding empirically is derived. For the empirical application, a household survey conducted in Southern Ghana is used. I exploit the variation in the degree of asymmetric information between spouses, measured as the difference between the husband’s own reporting of farm sales and the wife’s reporting of his farm sales, to test whether the allocation of resources is consistent with hiding. For identification, the wife’s clan and the husband’s bride-wealth payments upon marriage are used as instruments for asymmetric information. My findings indicate that allocations are suggestive of men hiding farm sales income in the form of gifts to extended family members, which are not closely monitored. It is unclear whether hiding has negative consequences in the long run because hiding occurs in the form of gifts, instead of expenditure in alcohol or tobacco. If the gifts represent a form of risk-sharing, then these gifts will return to the household in the future, and hiding is not necessarily inefficient. However, if these gifts are motivated by social pressure then hiding can result on poverty traps caused by kin system. The wife’s response is also suggestive of hiding. As information asymmetries increase, she reduces her expenditure in non-essential items, such as prepared foods and oil, but increases personal spending. Expenditure in oil is one of the main sources of calories among poor households in the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Castilla, Carolina, 2011. "Ties that Bind: The Kin System as a Mechanism of Income-Hiding between Spouses in Rural Ghana," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 104072, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea11:104072
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Junsen Zhang & William Chan, 1999. "Dowry and Wife's Welfare: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 786-808, August.
    3. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
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    5. 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 1245-1277, September.
    6. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-1046, October.
    7. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Population Growth and Human Capital Investments: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 38-70, October.
    8. Chen, Joyce J., 2013. "Identifying non-cooperative behavior among spouses: Child outcomes in migrant-sending households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 1-18.
    9. Ligon, Ethan, 2002. "Dynamic bargaining in households (with an application to Bangladesh)," CUDARE Working Paper Series 972, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
    10. Hoff, Karla & Sen, Arijit, 2005. "The kin system as a poverty trap?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3575, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joyce J. Chen & LaPorchia A. Collins, 2014. "Let's Talk About the Money: Spousal Communication, Expenditures, and Farm Production," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1272-1290.
    2. Masino, Serena & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2014. "Social service delivery and access to financial innovation. The impact of Oportunidades’ electronic payment system in Mexico," MPRA Paper 53430, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Castilla, Carolina & Walker, Thomas F., 2012. "Gender Roles and Intra-Household Allocation: Identifying Differences in the Incentives to Hide Money Across Spouses in Ghana," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124923, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incomplete information; income hiding; non-cooperative family bargaining; Consumer/Household Economics; International Development; D13; D82; J12;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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