Gender, Social Norms and Household Production in Burkina Faso
Empirical studies of intra-household allocation has revealed that, in many instances, gender is an important determinant in the allocation of resources within the household. Yet, within the theoretical literature, why gender matters within the household remains an open question. In this paper, we propose a simple model of intra-household allocation based on a particular social institution for the organisation of agricultural production practised among certain ethnic groups in West Africa. We highlight how this institution, while resolving certain problems of commitment and informational asymmetry, can also lead to a gendered pattern in the allocation of productive resources and consumption within the household. Using a survey of agricultural households in Burkina Faso, we show, consistent with this theory, that plots owned by the head of the household are farmed more intensively, and achieves higher yields, than plots with similar characteristics owned by other household members. Male and female family members who do not head the household achieve similar yields. We argue that the higher yields achieved by the household head may be explained in terms of social norms that require him to spend the earnings from some plots under his control exclusively on household public goods, which in turn provides other family members the incentive to voluntarily contribute labour on his farms. Using expenditures data, and measures of rainfall to capture weather-related shocks to agricultural income, we show that the household head has, indeed, a higher marginal propensity to spend on household public goods than other household members. The fact that the head of the household is usually male accounts for the gendered pattern in labour allocation and yields across different farm plots.
|Date of creation:||2010|
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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459-512.
- Kaushik Basu, 2006.
"Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, April.
- 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.
- Kaushik Basu, 2004. "Gender and Say A Model of Household Behavior with Endogenously-determined Balance of Power," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2054, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Bardhan, Pranab & Udry, Christopher, 1999. "Development Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773719.
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